An image of Alzheimer's brain tissue. The red show gingipains, a protein from P. gingivalis, intermixing with neurons (yellow) and glial cells (green)

An Alzheimer's dark­horse fails its first big tri­al, but of­fers hope for a long-over­looked hy­poth­e­sis

Three years ago, Cor­texyme emerged out of ob­scu­ri­ty with some big-name back­ers and an un­ortho­dox ap­proach to treat­ing Alzheimer’s.

They moved their drug in­to a piv­otal study the next year, of­fer­ing one of the first ma­jor tests for a hy­poth­e­sis that has flut­tered on the out­skirts of Alzheimer’s re­search for decades: that, in many cas­es, the dis­ease is dri­ven by in­fec­tious agents — the hav­oc they wreak in the brain and the in­flam­ma­tion the body us­es to try to fend them off. And that quash­ing the in­fec­tion could slow pa­tients’ cog­ni­tive de­cline.

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