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  • Writer's pictureRichard Kadri-Langford

New Alzheimer's drug Donanemab - 35% slowing of cognitive decline?

Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a degenerative brain disease that affects millions of people worldwide, and until now, no cure has been found. As the global population ages and average lifespans lengthen, the need for screening and treatment only increases - and thus research in this area is accelerating. Only recently we reported on the "momentous" breakthrough of lecanemab. Now hope has emerged with a new experimental drug, donanemab, which has shown promising results in clinical trials [1].

Donanemab, developed by Eli Lilly and Company, targets a protein called amyloid, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. The drug works by binding to amyloid plaques and removing them from the brain, thereby reducing their damaging effects.

According to the clinical trial results, the drug was able to slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease by reducing the amount of amyloid in the brain. The trial involved 272 patients with early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, and those who received the drug showed a significant improvement in cognitive function compared to those who received a placebo.

The trial was conducted over 76 weeks, and the drug was given as an intravenous infusion once every four weeks. The drug's safety profile was also favourable, with no significant adverse effects reported.

The news of Donanemab's success has been widely celebrated as a breakthrough in Alzheimer's research, as it offers a glimmer of hope to millions of people affected by this devastating disease.

The report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, concluded:

"In patients with early Alzheimer’s disease, donanemab resulted in a better composite score for cognition and for the ability to perform activities of daily living than placebo at 76 weeks, although results for secondary outcomes were mixed. Longer and larger trials are necessary to study the efficacy and safety of donanemab in Alzheimer’s disease."

Visual Abstract on effectiveness of donanemab in Early Alzheimer's Disease

While more research is therefore needed to confirm the drug's effectiveness and safety, the results are a cause for hope and optimism. The development of effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease could significantly improve the quality of life for millions of people worldwide and reduce the economic burden of the disease.

Alzheimer's disease is a growing public health concern, with an estimated 50 million people worldwide living with the disease. The global economic burden of the disease is also significant, estimated at over $1 trillion annually. Therefore, finding a cure or effective treatment is critical [2].

At Occuity we welcome the development of treatments and are working hard towards creating a solution to the challenge of screening to identify Alzheimer's as early as possible. You can read more about our work here.

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