Experts expect therapy by 2040 for Alzheimer’s disease 2023


Within 20 years, according to one of the United Kingdom’s foremost Alzheimer’s specialists, there will be a treatment for the most common forms of the disease.

Prof. Julie Williams’s research group at Cardiff University has identified 92 genes that substantially increase the risk of developing the progressive disease.

In 2009, they knew of only three loci when their research began.

Prof. Williams, who has studied Alzheimer’s for thirty years, remarked, “Everything is accelerating and improving.”

The academic from Merthyr Tydfil who received a CBE for her research stated, “I’ve learned more in the last seven years than I did in the previous twenty.”

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Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain and is the most common cause of dementia – one of the leading causes of death among those over 50 in the United Kingdom.

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 850,000 individuals in the United Kingdom, but those over 65 are more susceptible.

Prof. Williams, director of the UK Dementia Research Institute at Cardiff University, stated that gene therapy and a better international comprehension were providing researchers with new information every day.

“Once you know where to search, you can investigate the effects that specific genes have on brain activity,” she explained.

“Tests that cost millions in the 1990s can now be conducted for approximately £30.

“For instance, we now know that defective genes alter the function of immune cells called microglia.”

“These are the garbage trucks of the brain, removing what they perceive as waste. They may be less effective at removing actual waste and inadvertently eliminate healthy brain cells, including synapses.

“Synapses are, of course, the connections between neurons, so if they are eliminated when they shouldn’t be, you lose connections, thoughts, and memories.”

Prof. Williams stated, “There is nothing that can be done to prevent Alzheimer’s if you have the correct genetic makeup.”

She stated that her study of thousands of cases led her to the conclusion that there will never be a smoking gun; rather, the disease must be viewed more like heart disease or stroke, in which multiple factors contribute and multiple therapies can delay or prevent its onset.

“By 2040, I believe we will be able to offer a variety of treatments, and while we may not know the exact cause, one of them will be able to operate on the vast array of causes,” she said.

She added that some of the medications have already been approved for use in other conditions and could be in clinical use within five years.

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