A new Alzheimer’s drug, which has been labeled “historic” by some experts, could slow the progression of cognitive decline by 27% compared with a placebo.
The monoclonal antibody treatment called lecanemab was developed by drugmakers Biogen and Eisai and was recently tested in a Phase 3 global clinical trial.
The results of the study show that the drug reduced amyloid levels – a protein that builds up in the brian’s of Alzheimer’s patients. It also had positive effects on cognitive abilities and the patient’s ability to perform everyday tasks.
Eisai CEO Haruo Naito said in a statement: “We believe that helping to alleviate these burdens will positively impact society as a whole. Additionally, the lecanemab Clarity AD study results prove the amyloid hypothesis, in which the abnormal accumulation of Aβ in the brain is one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease.”
In this trial, 1,795 volunteers in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease were injected with lecanemab every two weeks and regularly had their memory and mental agility tested.
Although the full details haven’t been published yet, the pharmaceutical companies said that the trial results show that the pace of cognitive decline was reduced by 27% over the course of the 18 months, compared with people given a placebo. In addition to this, levels of the toxic protein were lowered in the brain over the course of the study.
Some of the reported side effects were brain swelling and headaches. The scientists also noted that the drug doesn’t work on other types of dementia.
Biogen chief executive Michel Vounatsos said: “Today’s announcement gives patients and their families hope that lecanemab, if approved, can potentially slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and provide a clinically meaningful impact on cognition and function.”
The companies are now in the process of applying for regulatory approval for the drug to be approved for use in the US, Europe, and Japan.