- THE REVOLUTION IN THE TREATMENT OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE LIES IN GENOMIC MEDICINE
- According to Dr. Ramón Cacabelos, President of the World Association of Genomic Medicine, over 70% of Alzheimer’s disease patients do not respond correctly to conventional treatments.
- Preventive intervention could entail a saving of 30% of the direct costs of the disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth greatest health problem in developed countries, after cardiovascular diseases, cancer, brain disorders and ictus. This type of degenerative dementia, together with vascular dementia, is the main form of dementia in advanced societies. It affects over 25 million persons worldwide, and over half a million in Spain. The cost of dementia in the European Union amounts to 160 USbillion euros, with an average cost of 21,000 euros per patient per year.
Dr. Ramón Cacabelos, President of the World Association of Genomic Medicine, confirms that it has been established that over 70% of patients do not respond, or respond incorrectly, to conventional anti-dementia treatments, and develop side-effects. In the Doctor’s words, this is due to the fact that “only 25% of the population metabolize drugs correctly in the liver; 75% of Spaniards have some type of genetic defect in the cytochrome P-450 (CYP) system which prevents us from taking some drug”.
The possibility of giving the right drug, at the right dose, to the patient with a pharmacogenetic profile capable of processing the drug administered. “In this regard, we must bear in mind that about 240 commonly-used drugs have been identified whose indiscriminate consumption can cause dementia,” warns Dr. Ramón Cacabelos, and adds: “it has also been verified that in over 50% of cases where a combination of drugs is administered without awareness of the patient’s pharmacogenetic profile, we are contributing to the cause of brain damage which over the years may result in dementia.”
The poverty of therapeutic resources, with drugs of little use at a high cost to society, is driving a desperate race to discover new forms of treatment that improve the efficacy and safety of anti-dementia treatment. “There are currently about 620 drugs under development for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, of which about 300 are derived from natural products, and about 25 are different types of vaccines for the preventive treatment of Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Cacabelos explains.
It is characterized by a progressive atrophy of the brain and the expression of brain lesions represented by plaques of amyloid beta protein, neurofibrillary tangles representing damage to the neuronal cytoskeletal structure, and the premature death of neurons, which together give rise to the prevalent symptoms of the disease, characterized by memory deterioration, behavioral disorders and the general decline of the organism and psychomotor activity.
Dr. Ramón Cacabelos is President of the World Association of Genomic Medicine and is one of the most renowned researchers in this field on an international level. He is President of the EuroEspes Group, a unique initiative in Europe that enjoys the participation of public and private bodies interested in biomedical research on problems of the nervous system, aging and dementia, and in the performance of an integral outpatient medicine founded on multidisciplinary work.
As a center of international reference, its main goal in the medical field is to provide new diagnostic procedures and new therapeutic strategies to enable an improvement in diagnostic efficacy.