A note from our CEO, Dr. Shadi Farhangrazi
Alzheimer's disease and asking the right questions
Matt opened the door and wondered out in the early morning hours. To most people an early morning walk would be a pleasant way to start the day. However, for Matt walking out by himself was not a normal aspect of his day. His sister, suddenly awakened by the closing door, ran to the street trying to find him. He was nowhere to be found. He did not remember the streets that he had walked so many times before; and that morning, signs, street names, and every turn made no sense to him. As the sun was rising in the East, it was getting warmer and he could feel the heat and a thirst building in his throat. He wanted to get back home but didn’t remember how he had ended up where he was or how he had got there. He saw a little shop in the corner, and in his confused state of mind, thought about crossing the street to get something to drink. As he stepped onto the street, a motorcycle sped towards him and struck him with such force that he was thrown ten feet, rolling down into a ditch and cracking his skull and breaking bones in his arms and legs. Matt died of internal bleeding and trauma, shortly after the ambulance arrived.
Most Alzheimer’s disease patients don’t have as traumatic an end. However, life with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is a slow death—of who the person was before their mind started disintegrating. It’s being alive but not being present. Most caregivers describe the slow goodbye of their loved ones as watching the slow death of their loved ones.
To millions of Alzheimer’s patients (and their families) suffering, every day, every minute of a confusing life is another step towards a slow death. They hope for research to find a treatment if not a cure. However, most pharmaceutical companies and investors avoid investing in Alzheimer’s disease research. Their reasons are varied. But, a limited number of companies have made the investment.
Yesterday, FDA approved the antibody aducanumab - the first new Alzheimer’s disease drug approved in the United States since 2003. While the conditional approval of this new drug has been controversial, we applaud all the companies and researchers who are still making Alzheimer’s disease a priority.
At SMDG, we remain committed to continuing our work and research utilizing our innovative and novel technology platform in order to find safe and effective therapies for Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases. While we are cognizant that the road to the cure is difficult, our strategy has been asking tough questions so that not only we identify obstacles, but also we can find better answers. Sometimes the questions we ask are as important as the answers we seek to find. The inventor of our technology platform, Professor Moein Moghimi asked the questions years ago. “How do we deliver therapies across the blood brain barrier and to the brain, safely and effectively? Why has it been difficult to find therapies for neurological diseases?” We continue asking questions and working hard to find the future therapies.
June is Alzheimer's and brain awareness month. While it is an opportunity to talk about Alzheimer's disease and other dementias as a major public health issue, we know that the road to find safe and realistic therapies is long and difficult. Today, we mourn losing Matt and many millions of Alzheimer’s patients and are committed more than ever to discover and deliver lifesaving therapies for millions of patients.
I hope you join us for our upcoming webinar. Please register here on our webinar page.
Please stay safe and well and keep in touch.