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Remote town could hold the key to an effective Alzheimer's treatment

Remote town could hold the key to an effective Alzheimer's treatment
21st December 2012

An isolated cattle-town in a remote area of South America will next year become the centre of an extraordinary clinical trial to find a cure for Alzheimer's.

The region of Yarumal in Colombia has attracted the attention of scientists across the world because residents are essentially predisposed to develop dementia, the LA Times reports.

A common ancestor appears to have held what scientists refer to as a "mis-spelled gene" that has been passed down through the generations in the area and means that almost all residents develop Alzheimer's around the age of 40 - 15 years before a person would usually begin to display symptoms.

As a result, Yarumal is the perfect place to test the crenezumab drug. It has been developed by Genentech and attacks beta amyloids before they can become toxic and cause Alzheimer's.

Dr Francisco Lopera, co-manager of the trial, said: "Anti-amyloid drugs have been used before, but they have failed because they have been taken by patients already suffering from dementia - in other words, too late."

He explained that the scientists do not expect the drug to prevent Alzheimer's completely, but hope that it will "delay it for many years".