Alzheimer’s drug trials show early promise

TOKYO, 30 Nov 2022:

A new drug that slows down the effects of Alzheimer’s – in the early stages of the disease – has brought hope to patients and families after a clinical study proving its efficacy was published today.

The study, which was issued by The New England Journal of Medicine, also warned the use of the drug had presented adverse effects and required more in-depth analysis.

The new drug lecanemab is capable of reducing the “clinical decline on the global cognitive and functional scale, CDR-SB, compared with placebo at 18 months by 27%,” reported Eisai global, a Japanese pharmaceutical company that developed the drug with US-based Biogen.

The phase three study was carried out at various medical centres over 18 months, with 1,795 patients who were in the early stages of the disease and aged 50 to 90.

“Today’s announcement gives patients and their families hope that lecanemab, if approved, can potentially slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and provide a clinically meaningful impact on cognition and function,” said Michel Vounatsos, CEO at Biogen.

Results from the clinical trial show the monoclonal antibody present in lecanemab reduced markers of amyloid in early Alzheimer’s disease and resulted in less cognitive decline than the placebo after 18 months.

The study also concluded the drug was associated with adverse effects and that “longer trials are warranted to determine the efficacy and safety of lecanemab in early Alzheimer’s disease.”

Eisai and Biogen plan to file for full approval of the drug in the US in January, and soon after in Japan and Europe.