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“Turning Point” For Alzheimer’s Patients Following Success Of Trial

Two medications showing results to slow down the cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients are being hailed as a “turning point”.

Donanemab, a drug made by Eli Lilly, has been confirmed to slow down patients’ inevitable cognitive deterioration by 35 per cent, while a second drug, lecanemab, made by Eisai and Biogen reduced the rate by 27 per cent.

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Eli Lilly is seeking Food and Drug Administration approval of donanemab, and if cleared, it would be just the second Alzheimer’s treatment convincingly shown to delay the disease.

It’s study, published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), examined 1,700 patients aged 60 to 85 who were in early stages of Alzheimer’s.

Half received once-a-month infusions of donanemab while the other half received a placebo, both across 18 months.

With a few twists in the study, both groups cognitive function declined during the 18 months but those administered donanemab worsened about 22 per cent more slowly.

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“Finally, there’s some hope, right, that we can talk about,” Dr John Sims said on Monday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.

Meanwhile, lecanemab just received the tick of approval in the United States, but it is waiting for the all-clear in Australia and the UK.

Executive director of research and partnerships at Alzheimer’s Research UK Dr Susan Kohlhaas said regulators needed to act quickly so patients could avoid long waits for the treatments.

“We now have two potentially life-changing Alzheimer’s treatments on the horizon, and we need to see rapid regulatory decisions so people who could benefit from these treatments aren’t left in limbo,” Dr Kohlhaas said.

“After 20 years without new Alzheimer’s medicines, people affected by this disease deserve to have answers about new treatments as quickly as possible.”

The full investigation can be read on the JAMA network.

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