THE news that the first new treatment for Alzheimers in almost two decades has been approved in the US was welcomed with "cautious optimism" in Cumbria.

The drug, known as Aducanumab, targets the underlying cause of Alzheimers rather than its symptoms.

Chris Lawson, Dementia Connect local services manager Chris Lawson at Alzheimers Society Cumbria, described the news as "progress."

He said: "I would say it's really encouraging to see. I'm very hopeful that it's a sign of progress, but we have to wait and see. It's available in the US now, with good fortune it's a good treatment.

"It's cautious optimism. We will see the impact it has, if it helps some people - fantastic. We need to see who it will help in the UK.

"The odds are that dementia will affect all of us in our lives. The more people do to educate themselves now, the better.

"It's a timely reminder that progress is being made, there's still so much more people can do. The Government need to maintain its commitment to researching and to social care. Too many people can get left behind."

However scientists are pointing out that the new drug will only benefit some people with the disease - meaning more needs to be done.

Dr Richard Oakley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society said:

“It’s promising to see that aducanumab has been approved for use in people with early stage Alzheimer’s disease.

"This is just the beginning of the road to new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. We must keep searching for drugs for all stages of Alzheimer’s disease and for other types of dementia.

"We are proud to say that Alzheimer’s Society was part of a pivotal genetic discovery for the first Alzheimer’s gene in the 1990s, which paved the way for anti-amyloid drugs like the one announced by Biogen.

"Dementia is the biggest killer in the UK, so we owe it to all 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and their families to make a world without dementia a reality.”

Alzheimer's Society Cumbria provides support to residents living with the condition and their families - Chris added: "We're available for anyone affected by dementia, be it themselves or their families, to provide what matters to them.

"If there's new challenges presented, we can help to talk through that. We're in the priveleged position of having the lived experiences of other people.

"The team are fantastic at finding what has worked for others."

The team can be contacted on 01228 819299.