Alzheimer's drug enters larger testing stage

A new drug that some say may treat the underlying cause of Alzheimer's disease has entered a larger late-stage study, bringing it one step closer to being approved for the open market.

European regulators reviewed data from the mid-stage trials of the drug Bapineuzumab, which is manufactured by Wyeth, and determined that moving on to advanced studies would be the best, Reuters reports.

Alzheimer's drug enters larger testing stage

Last October Wyeth officials had said it hoped to begin the large phase three European trials soon, but were told the European regulators needed to investigate the results from phase two.

The results showed the drug helped some Alzheimer patients with a certain genetic profile, according to the article. Bapineuzumab works as an antibody to the beta-amyloid plaques that many scientists believe to be related to the cause of the debilitating disease.

One cause of concern for the drug was reportedly the increased risk of a "potentially serious side effect in the brain" of some of the study participants, states Reuters.

An estimated 5.2 million people in the U.S. are currently living with Alzheimer's disease. By 2030, it's estimated the number of individuals aged 65 and older with the disease will reach 7.7 million.

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