New drug shows impressive early trial results
A new Alzheimer’s drug, being developed by Biogen, has shown surprising results in small clinical trials. The new drug, called aducanumab, reduced the rate of cognitive decline in trial patients by over 70% at the high dose. It also reduced plaque in the brain.
Specialists are cautiously optimistic
Alzheimer’s specialists are impressed by these results, but say it’s difficult to predict future success based on this small, early-stage Phase 1 trial. Other drugs have done well at this stage, but failed in larger trials.
How this drug works
Aducanumab is designed to get rid of amyloid plaque in the brain. Some believe this type of plaque is a cause of the dementia in Alzheimer’s disease so reducing plaque would help delay cognitive impairment.
Major side effect seen
A major side effect was a localized swelling in the brain, known as A.R.I.A.-E. 55% of patients who got the highest trial dose experienced this swelling. Some of those patients dropped out of the study because of it.
Doctors debate whether this is a manageable side effect or whether it makes the drug too risky to use. It’s also unclear whether a lower dose would still work to decrease cognitive decline, but not cause brain swelling.
Something that could dramatically slow cognitive decline would be a better option than currently available drugs like Namenda or Aricept, which have mixed reviews and limited windows of effectiveness.
Positive research results are always exciting, but it’s important to remember that we’re still a long way from a truly effective Alzheimer’s drug or a real cure for this terrible disease.
By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: CBS News