Confirmation of the effectiveness of the first drug that slows the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

  • Fundació Pasqual Maragall describes the results of lecanemab, the treatment developed by Eisai and Biogen, as a “very important step”

  • Scientists call for further study of drug, which could lead to adverse effects in some patients

“It’s a very important step in the world of Alzheimer’s”. Scientists have confirmed the effectiveness of lecanemab, the drug that Japanese pharmacist Eisai investigated, in collaboration with the American biogenic, Yes What reduces the worsening of symptoms by up to 27% of this disease after being administered for 18 months. In early October, the company issued a press release explaining clinical trial results around this medicine. But you had to know the details of the final result that will be presented at the Congress of Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease (CTAD), which is being held these days in San Francisco. These results also call for further study of the possible side effects of the treatment.

The Pasqual Maragall Foundation, a reference in the research and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, applauds the results of this work. “This is only the beginning because the changes are modest and it takes do longer clinical trials. But it’s a very important step forward.” The director of the entity, EL PERIÓDICO, points out Arcadia Navarro. Lecanemab, the results of which are “clinically relevant” and which he says “must be approved” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is the “First drug that truly alters the course of the disease”. It really is its importance. “There were already drugs to treat the symptoms, but this one really slows down the cognitive decline,” Navarro values.

Also Spanish Confederation of Alzheimer’s Disease (Ceafa) welcomed “the possible arrival of a new drug after 20 years” with “optimism”. “However, experience suggests caution after aducanumab failure. The results show an efficacy of 27%, which is infinitely larger than what we currently have therefore, from Ceafa we believe that The way is to keep investigating. Continue the investigation on the one hand to have an early diagnosis, since these drugs, the sooner they are administered, the better; and on the other hand, to continue research on this type of drug so that this percentage of effectiveness increases”, indicated the confederation in a press release.

Ceafa estimates that if this drug actually arrives on the market, it would be a “inflection point”, because it would improve the “quality of life” of the patients and would represent “very significant savings” for the people concerned and their families, but also for the system.

However, scientists also call for further research on this drug, as it can lead to risk of dangerous side effects for some patients, according to other data presented in San Francisco. Lecanemab has been associated with a type of brain inflammation in 12.6% of patients in the trial, a side effect already observed with similar drugs.

However, the full results of this advanced clinical study (Phase III) conducted in nearly 1,800 people followed for 18 months confirmed a 27% reduction in cognitive impairment in patients treated with lecanemab. This proportion “statistically significant” according to the two groups, it had already been announced at the end of September.

What are the side effects?

The full study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, also details the incidence rate of adverse effects lecanemab, sometimes severe and much more frequent than in the placebo group.

Thus, 17.3% of patients treated with lecanemab suffered cerebral hemorrhages, versus 9% of the placebo group. And 12.6% of people who received this experimental drug suffered cerebral edema, compared to only 1.7% in the placebo group.

However, the overall death rate is about the same in both groups of patients in the study (0.7% in people treated with lecanemab, 0.8% in those who received placebo).

“A royal treatment option”

“It is the first drug that offers a real treatment option for people with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Bart De Strooper, director of Britain’s Dementia Research Institute, according to AFP. “Although the clinical benefits seem somewhat limited, we can expect them to become more obvious if the drug is administered during a longer period, added.

In Alzheimer’s disease, two key proteins, tau and another called beta-amyloid, gradually accumulate abnormally in the brain, causing cell death. brain cells and the brain shrinkage.

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This causes, among other things, memory loss and a growth inability to perform daily tasks. This disease is one of major public health issues It affects more than 40 million people worldwide.

Lecanemab targets beta-amyloid protein deposits, but only in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease what i could limit its use because this disease often it is diagnosed late.

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