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Year in review: Alzheimer’s drug may clarify disease’s origins

Treatment shows early promise in sweeping away amyloid brain plaques

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7:35am, December 14, 2016
amyloid-beta

PLAQUE BUSTER A new Alzheimer’s drug shows early promise in clearing amyloid-beta plaques (illustrated) from the brain.

A quarter century after scientists proposed an idea that profoundly influenced the arc of Alzheimer’s research, they might finally find out whether they are correct. A new antibody drug called aducanumab appears to sweep the brain clean of sticky amyloid-beta protein. The drug may or may not become a breakthrough Alzheimer’s treatment — it’s too soon to say — but either way it will probably answer a key question: Have researchers been aiming at the right target?

According to the proposal, called the amyloid hypothesis, Alzheimer’s disease, estimated to affect more than 5 million people in the United States alone, is caused by abnormal buildup of A-beta protein in the brain. The buildup chokes vital brain areas and destroys nerve cells. Despite

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