A new drug against Alzheimer’s, donanemab could slow the cognitive decline of patients by 35% by eliminating amyloid plaques from the brain.
A new hope for curb Alzheimer’s disease? On July 17, 2023, the Lilly laboratory published the conclusions of its phase 3 clinical trial -carried out on 1736 subjects aged 60 to 85- on the donanemab. This new drug would be able to slow down the cognitive decline of people with early Alzheimer’s by 35% that is, with either mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia. “Donanemab treatment significantly slowed clinical progression at 76 weeks (18 months)” indicates the laboratory in the JAMA.
Donanemab is a monoclonal antibody designed to eliminate cerebral amyloid plaque, The deposition of beta amyloid peptide or “β-amyloid” in the brain is an abnormal and pathological feature of Alzheimer’s disease. It is one of the main targets of research on Alzheimer’s disease for the development of drugs. Removal of amyloid plaque is beneficial for patients.
Donanemab participates in the elimination of amyloid plaque present in the brain of patients and reduces the level of tau proteins in the blood, another biological marker of the disease. In the Lilly laboratory phase 3 trial, participants had a low to moderate level of “tau” lesions, i.e. they suffered from a early form of Alzheimer’s. They received either donanemab (700 mg for the first 3 doses and 1400 mg thereafter) or a placebo, administered intravenously every 4 weeks. On arrival, treatment with donanemab reduces amyloid plaque by an average of 84% at 18 months, against a decrease of 1% in the group placebo.
Donanemab treatment also resulted inabsence of disease progression at 1 year for 47% of participants, versus 29% on placebo. Participants on donanemab had a 39% reduced risk of progressing to the next clinical stage of the disease. This delay in progression meant that on average they had 7.5 more months before reaching the same level of cognitive decline than those on placebo. For the Overcoming Alzheimer’s Foundation, “all the results that the Lilly laboratory presented are encouraging“.
Among the side effects observed in some study participants, migraines, hemorrhages and cerebral edema (1.6% severe) have been reported. Three deaths in the donanemab group And 1 in placebo group were considered as “process related”. The extension of the study is in progress. The Lilly laboratory has submitted its results to the FDA, the American drug agency, in order to consider approval of its drug in the United States.
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