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Clinical Trials Promising for New Alzheimer’s Treatment

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Aired 4/19/09

According to a new estimate, at least five million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease. There are no effective treatments for the condition. But a neurologist at UCSD is involved in clinical trials on a therapy that's believed to have some potential. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

The clinical trials involve injecting genetically-altered cells into the brains of Alzheimer's patients. UCSD neurologist Mark Tuszynski is directing the research. He says in the initial trial, there may have been a decline in the cognitive slowing in patient's brains.

Tuszynski : But to say anything definitive, this really needs to undergo larger trials with placebo controls, and those trials are getting underway now. So, in a couple of years, we'll know something more in that respect.

Dr. Tuszynski points out there are two classes of drugs used to treat Alzheimer's patients. But he says they're not very effective. Tuszynski says there's a pressing need to develop better therapies -- as the number of people with Alzheimer's is expected to double within 25 years. Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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