Dementia is the term used to describe the symptoms of illnesses that cause a progressive decline in brain function. While no drug is available that can cure dementia, there are drugs that can help with some of the symptoms.
Many Australians will start experiencing the impact of dementia amongst their own family and friends in the coming years.
Dementia Australia has welcomed the announcement by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving the first disease modifying treatment for Alzheimer's disease and MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment) related to Alzheimer's disease for almost 20 years.
Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said this was exciting news for the entire dementia community globally.
"This announcement provides real hope for people who are developing symptoms and in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease," Ms McCabe said.
"Importantly this will result in further research investment into more treatments for all forms of dementia."
"It may be some time before it is accessible in Australia," Ms McCabe said.
"If or when that time comes it will be important for people to have access to appropriate information to enable them to make an informed choice about their treatment."
Dementia Australia Honorary Medical Advisor Associate Professor Michael Woodward AM said sadly we do not yet have a cure for Alzheimer's disease, but through removing the toxic amyloid protein with this drug we can significantly reduce the rate of memory and other decline.
"It is possible that, if used very early in Alzheimer's disease, this drug will prevent the emergence of the symptoms of Alzheimer's, but there is still research to be done in this area."
Ms McCabe acknowledged the 100 Australians who have been part of the study.
The National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 is available for all Australians to call to discuss any questions they might have about this announcement.