(BBC) Data from pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly suggests its solanezumab drug can cut the rate of the dementia’s progression by about a third.
The results, presented to a US conference, are being met with cautious optimism.
A new trial is due to report next year and should provide definitive evidence.
The death of brain cells in Alzheimer’s is currently unstoppable. Solanezumab may be able to keep them alive.
Current medication, such as Aricept, can manage only the symptoms of dementia by helping the dying brain cells function.
But solanezumab attacks the deformed proteins, called amyloid, that build up in the brain during Alzheimer’s.
It is thought the formation of sticky plaques of amyloid between nerve cells leads to damage and eventually brain cell death.