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Promising new Alzheimer’s drugs may be less effective for Black patients

Groundbreaking treatments for Alzheimer’s disease that work by removing a toxic protein called beta amyloid from the brain may benefit whites more than Black Americans, whose disease may be driven by other factors, leading Alzheimer’s experts told Reuters.

The two drugs - Leqembi, from partner biotech firms Eisai (4523.T) and Biogen (BIIB.O), and an experimental treatment developed by Eli Lilly (LLY.N), donanemab — are the first to offer real hope of slowing the fatal disease for the 6.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s.

Although older Black Americans have twice the rate of dementia as their white peers, they were screened out of clinical trials of these drugs at a higher rate, according to interviews with 10 researchers as well as four Eisai and Lilly executives.

Prospective Black volunteers with early disease symptoms did not have enough amyloid in their brain to qualify for the trials, the 10 researchers explained.

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Source: NBC 31 July 2023


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