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World ‘on cusp of first generation of treatments for Alzheimer’s’ as new drug ‘slows symptoms’

The world is “on the cusp of a first generation of treatments for Alzheimer’s disease”, experts have said, as a new drug was found to slow cognitive and functional decline.

The drug donanemab, made by Eli Lilly and Company, slowed decline by 35% to 36% in a late-stage phase 3 clinical trial, the company said.

Donanemab appeared to slow the decline associated with Alzheimer’s compared to placebo in 1,182 people with early-stage disease based on those with intermediate levels of a protein known as tau.

The drug also resulted in 40% less decline in the ability to perform activities of daily living, according to the firm.

Dr Susan Kolhaas, executive director of research and partnerships at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “This is incredibly encouraging, and another hugely significant moment for dementia research".

“The treatment effect is modest, as is the case for many first-generation drugs, and there are risks of serious side effects that need to be fully scrutinised before donanemab can be marketed and used.

“However, this news underlines the urgency of preparing the NHS to make these treatments available should regulators deem them safe and effective".

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Source: The Independent, 3 May 2023


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