Study: New Alzheimer’s Drug Slows Cognitive Decline

The Washington Post reports:

An experimental Alzheimer’s drug slowed cognitive and functional decline by 27 percent in a closely watched clinical trial, the sponsors of the medication said Tuesday, increasing the therapy’s chance for approval as soon as early next year.

Japanese drugmaker Eisai and its American partner, Biogen, in a news release said the slowing of deterioration, compared with a placebo, was “highly statistically significant.” They said the drug, called lecanemab, had met the primary and secondary goals of the 18-month late-stage study. The trial results have not undergone peer review.

The upbeat news served as a stark contrast to the calamitous rollout last year of another drug, marketed as Aduhelm, sponsored by the two companies.

Bloomberg News reports

The result marks a major milestone for researchers who have been trying in vain for decades to stop the inexorable decline tied to the disease. How much of a difference it will make for patients and families is less clear. While it appears to unambiguously slow the disease, the medicine doesn’t restore mental capacity or totally stop its loss.

The consistent pattern of improvement “is what the field has hoped for, and should result in favorable regulatory actions,” said David Knopman, a clinical neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

The Alzheimer’s Association welcomed the results, saying they were the most encouraging findings to date from drugs aimed at treating the underlying causes of the disease.