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Promising Alzheimer’s drug offers hope for a bright future in treatment

<p>A remarkable and significant breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease is ushering in a new era of hope and possibilities for patients grappling with early onset dementia.</p> <p>Scientists and researchers are celebrating this groundbreaking development, viewing it as a tremendous opportunity to transform the landscape of Alzheimer's treatment.</p> <p>The drug in question, donanemab, developed by Eli Lilly, has shown remarkable success in clinical trials and is anticipated to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration later this year, according to a report in the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>New York Post</em></a>.</p> <p>Individuals who participated in the donanemab trials experienced a remarkable 40% reduction in the risk of transitioning from mild cognitive impairment to mild or moderate dementia. This is an extraordinary advancement that brings renewed optimism to those affected by this devastating condition.</p> <p>Donanemab would be the third Alzheimer’s drug to emerge in recent months, following the introduction of Leqembi and Aduhelm. This is just the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the realm of molecular therapies for Alzheimer's, as expressed by Dr. Gil Rabinovici, director of the University of California San Francisco’s Memory and Ageing Centre, in an editorial for <em>JAMA</em>.</p> <p>Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, the chief scientific and medical officer at Lilly, has emphasised the significance of this breakthrough. He states, "This will be a very important and meaningful drug," as quoted in <em>Fierce Biotech</em>. Skovronsky further adds, "[T]here’s a huge opportunity here for patients." Such resolute optimism is inspiring, reflecting the tremendous potential this drug holds for transforming lives.</p> <p>Similar to Leqembi and Aduhelm, donanemab is a monoclonal antibody designed to target plaque in the brain, specifically the amyloid protein. These amyloid plaques are responsible for the propagation of another protein called tau, which contributes to the development of Alzheimer's disease.</p> <p>Notably, the donanemab trial also revealed that the drug slowed cognitive decline by an impressive 35% compared to a placebo in individuals with low to intermediate levels of tau protein in the brain. In fact, donanemab demonstrated superior efficacy in clearing amyloid plaques when compared to Aduhelm and Leqembi.</p> <p>Moreover, unlike Leqembi, which necessitates long-term usage, patients taking donanemab may follow a fixed-duration dosing schedule, potentially allowing some individuals to discontinue the treatment after a certain period. "I expect that many patients will be able to stop dosing even as soon as 12 months," Skovronsky affirmed. This stands as a significant departure from being prescribed a lifelong medication, providing an exciting and meaningful prospect for patients.</p> <p>While it is important to note that these new Alzheimer’s drugs do carry limitations and risks, medical experts remain cautiously optimistic. Donanemab, along with the other emerging drugs, has been associated with brain swelling and bleeding. Tragically, three individuals in the donanemab clinical trial lost their lives due to these side effects.</p> <p>The risk of brain swelling and bleeding is heightened among those carrying the APOE4 gene, which is associated with an increased susceptibility to Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, individuals with more advanced stages of the disease showed minimal to no benefit compared to those who received a placebo.</p> <p>As a result, it is possible that donanemab will be recommended primarily for individuals with low to intermediate levels of tau proteins, indicating milder forms of the disease.</p> <p>Nevertheless, Skovronsky and other medical experts maintain their optimism regarding the FDA's approval, expressing the urgent need for it to come to fruition. Skovronsky highlights, "Every day that goes by, there are some patients who pass through this early stage of Alzheimer’s disease and become more advanced, and they won’t benefit from treatment. That’s a very pressing sense of urgency."</p> <p>While challenges and risks remain, the emergence of donanemab and its potential approval by the FDA represents a beacon of hope for the millions of individuals and families affected by Alzheimer's disease. It symbolises the start of a new chapter in the fight against this debilitating condition, offering renewed prospects for a brighter future filled with effective treatments and improved quality of life.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p> <p> </p>


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