Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia have a profound impact on individuals, families, and society. These neurodegenerative conditions gradually rob individuals of their cognitive abilities, affecting memory, thinking, and behavior. The emotional and financial burden on caregivers can be immense, while healthcare systems face the challenge of providing adequate support and resources for those affected. Addressing Alzheimer’s and dementia requires concerted efforts in research, care, and awareness to improve diagnosis, treatment, and ultimately, find a cure for these devastating diseases.
For dementia awareness week, we are discussing the exciting news that a second drug for Alzheimer’s disease Lilly’s donanemab, has been successful in phase 3 clinical trials.
Following the success of the Alzheimer’s drug lecanemab in 2022, this is another big step in the Alzheimer’s field. This latest breakthrough emphasizes the importance of having multiple treatment options to address different elements of the disease.
Donanemab is an investigational drug being studied for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. It is a monoclonal antibody designed to target and remove amyloid plaques in the brain. These plaques accumulate in the brain and are thought to cause progressive neurodegeneration which is a characteristic of the disease.
Previous phase 2 clinical trials monitoring 257 patients with early Alzheimer’s disease who were treated with donanemab, examined patients completing cognitive tasks and performing daily activities. The results from the phase 2 trial indicated that the drug slowed the progression of the disease, with patients declining 6 months slower than their untreated counterparts.
Phase 3 clinical trials are the final stage of testing before a potential drug can be considered for approval by regulatory authorities. These trials involve a large number of participants and are intended to evaluate the drug’s safety and effectiveness. In the phase 3 trial with donanemab, involving 1,736 patients, it was found that patients who received the monthly drug had a 35% slower decline in memory, thinking, and ability to perform daily tasks. In addition, it was found that patients who took donanemab were 39% less likely to progress to the next stage of the disease.
While exciting, the trial findings do still need to be examined by regulatory authorities before the drug can be made available to patients. The treatment’s benefits must be weighed against the risks, of which brain swelling and bleeding have been seen to occur in a very small population of participants.
However, this is potentially the start of a generation of treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, something that did not exist only a decade ago.
Could this impact other brain diseases?
There are several types of dementia, with the most common type being Alzheimer’s disease, characterized by memory loss, cognitive decline, and behavioral changes. Other types include:
While donanemab is primarily a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, there is a lot of cross-over between the types of dementia. It would therefore be interesting to see if this treatment could be applied to other patients, particularly those with mixed dementia, and if the treatment is as effective.
The next steps in the treatment of dementia
While this new possible treatment is very exciting in the world of dementia, the next steps are unknown. The results from the regulatory body may mean we do not see this treatment circulating in treatment for a while. In addition, the healthcare system needs to be ready to deliver safe and effective treatments to people with dementia so that patients can benefit as quickly as possible.
You can read more from the ramarketing team about brain disorders, treatments and discoveries.
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