September 28, 2022

Benefits seen in phase 3 of Alzheimer’s drug trial

By: Lauren McCaffrey

Editor's Note

Eisai, the Japanese drug maker, said on Tuesday September 27, that its experimental drug for Alzheimer’s disease helped slow cognitive decline to those experiencing early stages of the illness. In the phase 3 clinical trials, the drug, called lecanemab, slowed cognitive decline by 27% after 18 months, the company said.

The drug is a monoclonal antibody targeting amyloid plaques, clumps of protein in the brain, a common indication of Alzheimer’s. Data was collected from 1,795 patients randomly assigned to receive either the drug or a placebo every two weeks over 18 months. A clinical dementia rating scale was used to measure cognitive decline on six areas: memory, orientation, judgment and problem solving, community affairs, home and hobbies, and personal care.

The single trial is unlikely to prove that amyloid is responsible for the decline in mental function seen in patients, Dr Alberto Espay, a neurologist at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, said. Rather, Dr Ronald Petersen, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said the trial may show that amyloid is one of several components that lead to the progression of the disease.

Petersen said that the new drug “is not a cure by any means,” but a step in the right direction that will likely promote more beneficial research down the road. Two similar drugs, from Roche and Eli Lilly, are expected to release late-stage clinical trial results over the next few months.

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