At University of Queensland’s Brain Institute scientists are getting ready to start the clinical trials of a new “cheap and mobile” ultrasound device that would work on humans in the next two years.
The new treatment uses ultrasound waves to take aim at the neurotoxic amyloid plaques that are responsible for memory loss and cognitive failure.
Professor Jürgen Götz, Research director, hopes the new method will revolutionize Alzheimer’s treatment by restoring memory for sufferers.
“We’re extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimer’s without using drug therapeutics,” said Professor Götz. “The word ‘breakthrough’ is often misused, but in this case I think this really does fundamentally change our understanding of how to treat this disease, and I foresee a great future for this approach.”
Patients would use the mobile device in their own homes several times a year, with no need for expensive drug treatment that costs up to $250,000, Prof Götz said.
“With an ageing population placing an increasing burden on the health system, an important factor is cost, and other potential drug treatments using antibodies will be expensive,” he said. “In contrast, this method uses relatively inexpensive ultrasound and microbubble technology which is non-invasive and appears highly effective.”
In Australia, two thirds of all dementia patients have Alzheimer’s, accounting for almost 250,000 people. It is predicted the total number of dementia cases in Australia will reach 900,000 by 2050.
The findings are published in journal Science Transational Medicine.