Drug trial marks “profound step forward”

An Alzheimer’s drug being trialled by the Japanese pharmaceutical firm Eisai has shown promising results in slowing down patients’ decline in memory and thinking.

The drug, called lecanemab, is currently undergoing a rigorous phase 3 trial and works by removing Alzheimer’s trademark amyloid protein from the brain.

Results so far indicate that things like memory, orientation, judgement and problem-solving deteriorate 27% more slowly in those taking the drug compared with those who aren’t.  The trial, called CLARITY AD, involves 1,795 people with either mild Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment.

But some participants have had severe side effects.  The main one is called ARIA, “amyloid-related imaging abnormalities”, which result in swelling or bleeding in the brain.  Just over one in five participants experienced this.

According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, the findings are a “profound step forward,” adding: “It marks the day that the idea of targeting the biological processes, well accepted in fields like cancer and cardiology, has finally been proven in dementia.”