#Dementia: Is new drug a major breakthrough?

LMTX slows Alzheimer's progression - but it doesn't work on everyone and experts are urging caution

SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP/Getty Images

A new drug appears to slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease – but only in certain cases.

Some scientists have hailed the results of the trial as a major breakthrough in a field that has seen little advancement in decades, but others are far more sceptical.

What is it and how does it work?

LMTX is taken twice a day in tablet form. In the trial, it was used to treat 891 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's for 18 months, with the results presented at a conference in Toronto, Canada.

It is the first time a major drug trial has targeted tau tangles – abnormal clumps of protein that disrupt brain function – instead of beta-amyloid, a different type of protein that forms plaques as it accumulates in the brain, the New Scientist reports.

"The success of the LMTX trial suggests that tau tangles might be the main cause of Alzheimer's symptoms," it says.

How successful is it?

Overall, the trial was a flop as there appeared to be no benefit to taking LMTX, says the BBC's health and science correspondent, James Gallagher.

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