A promising new form of medication aimed at treating the degenerative brain disease Alzheimer's has showed early signs that it may be four times more effective than the current pill, donepezil, in preventing the onset and progression of the disease, Australian researchers said.
Preliminary results regarding the new wonder drug, known as Anavex 2-73 -- presented by Australian researchers at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) in the U.S overnight -- showed that out of the 12-odd patients in the Alfred Health trial, 10 recorded improved cognitive function.
Residents of the Australian state of Victoria will have first access to the drug, the researchers said.
The trial's head figure, associate professor Steve Macfarlane who is the director of aged care at Caulfield Hospital in Melbourne, told News Limited on Thursday he was "cautiously optimistic" following the drug's early positive signs.
"This drug seems to improve electrical markers by four times more than the current standard of care drug, which is a medication called donepezil (Aricept)," Macfarlane said.
Melbourne University laureate professor Colin Masters, a contributor to the research program, was in attendance in Seattle, Washington for the conference announcement.
The amount of improvement in those tested in the 36-day program was greater than that expected of a donepezil-taker after six months.
In fact, patients and carers involved in the study are actively seeking an extension of the trial in order to continue to take the new drug.
"We've also had patients and their carers reporting improvements in their thinking, increased alertness and improvement in their organization and independence," Macfarlane said.
It is estimated that more than 25 million people across the globe suffer Alzheimer's, which slowly deteriorates mental capabilities and is the leading cause of dementia.
The full results of the Australian trial are expected to be released at the end of the year.