Researchers are calling a breakthrough in the discovery of a drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative disease of the human brain. Scientists say this new drug helps slow the rate at which people’s brains lose function.
A drug is showing surprising success in treating Alzheimer’s disease (a common symptom of dementia or memory loss) after decades of failure, scientists say in recent research.
Although this drug named ‘lecanemab’ has little efficacy and its effect on people’s daily life is still debated. However, this drug works well in the early stages of Alzheimer’s detection. And that is why many are reluctant to accept it as a breakthrough.
‘Lecanemab’ attacks beta amyloid, a sticky substance in the human brain. This sticky substance builds up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Among the frustrations and failures of Alzheimer’s researchers, some consider the results of this drug trial to be a breakthrough in research. Those researching Alzheimer’s in the UK hailed the new findings as a surprising achievement.
Professor John Hardy, one of the scientists who conceived the idea of research targeting amyloid 30 years ago, says the achievement is ‘historic’ and points the way towards new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Professor Tara Spires-Jones of the University of Edinburgh said, “The results from the trial show us the potential for something huge because we’ve had a 100% failure rate for a long time.”
Currently, Alzheimer’s patients are given other drugs based on their symptoms, but none of them are used to cure the disease.
Lecanemab, on the other hand, is an antibody that is produced by the body to attack viruses or bacteria, and in this case the body’s immune system is told to clear amyloid-like substances from the brain.
Amyloid is a type of protein that forms an extra coating on neurons in the brain, and is uniquely localized and manifests as one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
A large-scale study involved 1,795 volunteers with early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. In this study, they were given lecanemab once every fifteen days.
The results of the study on the drug were presented at a conference on Alzheimer’s disease in San Francisco and were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. But these results were not something that would cure the disease overnight. In 18 months of treatment in the study, the drug was able to reduce the rate at which people’s brains lose function in Alzheimer’s disease by a quarter.
Researchers in the US are evaluating the promising data and considering whether lecanemab can be approved for use on a larger scale. And in this case, pharmaceutical companies Isai and Biogen are moving forward with plans to get approval for the use of the drug in other countries next year.