A “historic step”…the discovery of a promising drug for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers who conducted clinical trials of a new drug to combat Alzheimer’s disease described the approval of this drug, which slows the progression of the disease, as a “historic step”.

This achievement came after decades of failed attempts, and led to hope among experts that it would pave the way for treatments that could eventually lead to a cure for this, which is considered one of the most important public health problems, as it affects more than 40 million people all over the world.

licanimab

The clinical trials of the drug “Likanimab”, which was developed by two American and Japanese companies, encouraged the researchers.

This drug also showed its ability to reduce the decline in the general mental skills of Alzheimer’s patients by 27% over 18 months – a modest result, but important, according to the British newspaper “The Guardian”.

Licanimab is an antibody treatment that removes beta-amyloid clumps that build up in the brain.

First medication

For his part, Bart de Strober, Director of the Dementia Research Institute at University College London, said, “This is the first drug that provides a real treatment option for Alzheimer’s patients.”

“While the clinical benefits seem somewhat limited, they are expected to become more pronounced over time,” Strober added.

The results of clinical trials involving 1,800 patients were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The scientists also found that lekanmab, when given as a drip into a vein every two weeks, slowed memory decline by 27% over 18 months.

new era

In turn, Nick Fox, professor of clinical neuroscience and director of the Dementia Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, “I think it confirms a new era for Alzheimer’s disease.” He pointed out that this era comes after 20 years of serious work on anti-amyloid immunotherapies by scientists.

In addition, it is expected that the positive results of this drug will lead to a new generation of drugs that provide better control of Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Richard Oakley, of Alzheimer’s UK, said the findings could be a “game changer”.

Alzheimer's - expressive

Alzheimer’s – expressive

He also continued: “There is still a long way to go before we can see likanimab available … We must not forget that likanimab can only be given to people with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease who have amyloid in their brain, meaning that people with other types of dementia, Or in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, they can’t benefit from this drug.”

The finding comes after decades of failure in the field and has emboldened experts to say Alzheimer’s disease – which affects 30 million people worldwide – is treatable.

Another drug developed by Biogen called Aduhelm, which also targets amyloid plaques, raised a lot of hopes in 2021 by being the first drug approved in the United States against the disease since 2003.

But it also caused controversy, as the US Medicines Agency disagreed with the opinion of an expert panel that considered that the treatment had not been sufficiently proven effective during clinical trials. The agency later restricted its use to people with mild cases of the disease.

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