Scientists from Yale School of Medicine, the University of Southern California, and Washington University School of Medicine have conducted a clinical trial on a new Alzheimer’s treatment called Lecanemab, which has shown promising results in slowing down the progression of Alzheimer's disease for people in the early stages of the disease.
Lecanemab is an injection that targets harmful proteins in the brain known as Amyloid-beta (Aβ) which have been linked to Alzheimer's disease. The clinical trial included people between the ages of 50 and 90 who had been diagnosed with mild memory loss or mild dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer’s DiseaseAlzheimer's is a debilitating brain disease that can cause memory problems and mild cognitive impairment. People living with moderate to severe Alzheimer's can have issues with their ability to carry things or walk, and this gets worse over time. The exact cause of the disease is not fully understood, but it is thought to be a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental risk factors.
Approximately 5-6 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer's disease and this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million by 2050. The disease primarily affects those who are 65 or older, however, it's not uncommon to develop the disease in one's 40s or 50s.
Clinical Trial ResultsIn this research study, half of the participants were given Lecanemab treatment, while the other half were given a placebo. This was a double-blind clinical study, meaning that neither the participants nor the scientists knew who was getting which treatment until the end of the study. The study was done for 18 months, and the scientists looked at how much the participants' memory and thinking skills changed over that time.
The results of this clinical research showed that persons with Alzheimer's who received the Lecanemab treatment had less decline in their thinking and memory skills compared to the people with Alzheimer's who received the placebo. However, a test that measures a patient’s ability to perform daily activities did not show any statistically significant difference between the two groups. The trial was a phase 3 trial, meaning that it was the last step before seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration for the drug.
TakeawayOverall, the trial shows that Lecanemab has the potential to slow down the progression of Alzheimer's in people with early stages of the disease, while also lowering the amyloid burden in the brain. This is an exciting breakthrough for people affected by Alzheimer's disease; however, more research needs to be done to confirm these findings and to determine the safety and long-term effects of the treatment.
New England Journal of Medicine, Jan-05-23