Neurodegeneration is the progressive loss of neurons which drives a vicious cycle of degradation of brain cells, which in turn leads to the destruction of key brain areas seen in conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Motor Neuron Disease.
Over time, the compounded degeneration of neurons in large areas of the brain leads to cognitive impairments such as confusion, disorientation, loss of insight and of memory. In the case of Parkinson’s and Motor Neuron Diseases, movement is severely compromised. Such crippling conditions are devastating for patients as well as for their families and friends, and are a colossal burden on society – hence the huge unmet need to find long-term solutions and remedies to such debilitating diseases to lessen the burden on patients, carers and healthcare systems alike.
Today, dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease which represents 70% of dementias, is one of the biggest global public health challenges facing our generation. Over 35 million people worldwide currently live with the condition and this number is expected to double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050 to 115 million. With the world's population aging rapidly, Alzheimer's Disease alone, as opposed to dementia in general, is expected to boom in the elderly, with the worldwide Alzheimer's Disease patient population expected to swell from 21 million in 2010 to 53 million by 2050.
In the absence of improved treatment options, healthcare costs associated with Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias are high and expected to continue to rise substantially. In the United States alone, Alzheimer's Disease healthcare costs are projected to increase from US$ 200 billion in 2013 to US$ 1.2 trillion by 2050. The total estimated worldwide cost of dementia was US$ 604 billion in 2010.
In response to these challenges, researchers have undergone intense searches for new, more effective, treatments to prevent, cure or modify this devastating disorder. In spite of these efforts, the US Food and Drug Administration has only approved five medications for Alzheimer's Disease and these treat just the symptoms, there have been no new drug approvals for Alzheimer’s Disease for over 12 years.
More effective therapies, such as those addressed by the Neuro-Bio technology, combined with diagnostics and biomarkers to correctly diagnose the ailment and treat the condition in a more timely fashion, will significantly lessen the burden on patients, carers and healthcare systems alike and are urgently required.
The presence of beta-amyloid has long been linked to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease. But despite huge efforts in the pharmaceutical industry beta-amyloid has not proved an effective target for new drug candidates. This suggests that whilst being an important part of the jig-saw the presence of amyloid alone can’t account for how and why neurons embark on the remorseless cycle of death characterising neurodegeneration.
Neuro-Bio can now, for the first time, complete this jig-saw with its’ paradigm-shifting approach by giving a more precise description of the neurodegeneration underlying Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as explaining a range of previous clinical puzzles:
Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Motor Neuron Disease doesn’t begin in all neurons. Only certain groups of cells in a ‘hub’ at the core of the brain are initially vulnerable. The key brain cells lost in Alzheimer’s Disease are adjacent to those lost in Parkinson’s Disease, with those associated with Motor Neuron Disease similarly close by, with these all located at the ‘hub’ of the brain (see Figure below).