The latest news from around North Texas.
An experimental drug for Alzheimer's disease is showing early promise, according to research reported in the journal Nature.
Drug maker Biogen developed the drug called Aducanumab and funded the latest research.
The drug was found to significantly reduce toxic plaques in the brain, which experts believe play a critical role in the development of Alzheimer's.
It also seemed to slow down the loss of memory and thinking, says researchers.
Dr. Cindy Marshall, Medical Director at Baylor AT&T Memory Center says "there's a great deal of debate about what the actual cause and cascade of Alzheimer's is, but one of the targets for treatment is to eliminate the plaques or to prevent the production of the abnormal plaques in the first place."
She and other experts are cautious, saying previous drugs have been encouraging in early trials then later failed.
Right now, there is no drug on the market that targets Alzheimer's disease at its source nor targets plaques.
The research is a step in the right direction says Dr. Marshall.
"As we keep going, we are getting closer and closer to finding what we need to know to make an intervention that will be meaningful," says Dr. Marshall.
Twenty-three year-old twin sisters Sarah and Becca Duncan, of Grapevine, know the effects Alzheimer's disease can have on a family.
Their father, now 80-years-old, was diagnosed four years ago.
"We didn't know that he had Alzheimer's for a while and so Dad would be forgetting things, or he would be cutting himself or driving, not knowing where he's at," says Becca.
"We are only 23, about to be 24, and we still have so many things ahead of us in the future that we wanted dad to be a part of," says Sarah, who, along with Becca, stayed home to become full-time caretakers before moving their father to a care facility last year.
While new drugs may not be able to help their father, they see the possibilities of a cure for Alzheimer's disease as hope for the future.
"It's emotional because we could have Alzheimer's and we don't know," says Sarah. "So the fact that they have a new drug to potentially help with it is the most exciting thing that we could ask for."
165 patients participated in the study from October 2012 and January 2014, according to the report.