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New drug could slow Alzheimer's

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The results of an experimental medication were just released, and it could mean good news for Alzheimer's patients.

The makers of solanezumab said it can slow the progress of Alzheimer's disease by 30 percent if the disease is caught early.

The Alzheimer's Diseases Cooperative Study concluded the medication, produced by Eli Lilly, slowed the rate of cognitive decline and memory loss for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer's.

Experts are excited, but not too excited - yet. Solanezumab has not been approved by the FDA, and critics of the drug said the impact isn't much more than "a hint of activity."

"Unfortunately, there have been many, many, and dozens and dozens of disappointments as these clinical trials come out. But we have hope, and that is the message we want to get out. We want to support research," said Philip Carll of the Alzheimer's Association, Desert SW Chapter.

Ron Casola was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's about two years ago. He's encouraged by the research, but clinical trials in the past have resulted in limited success.

"It would excite me if I knew that it really worked and it was proven. Something that's out, new, that hasn't been proven yet, not so much," Casola said.

Whether this new drug is a success or failure, both Carll and Casola hope this raises more awareness and research. Currently, $450 million is spent on Alzheimer's research. By contrast, cancer receives roughly $6 billion and HIV-AIDS receives $3 billion in research.

"AIDS is a great example. Twenty years ago that was a death sentence. Now people are living long, quality lives," added Carll.

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