DES MOINES — An experimental drug being tested on people with Alzheimer’s disease is showing promise and is very encouraging, according to Iowa chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association spokesman Tim Harrington.
The drug is called Lecanemab and medical reports out last week say it can slow the rate of cognitive decline by 27-percent, which Harrington calls significant. “In slowing the rate of cognitive decline or slowing down the progression of disease, really what it does is allows for a better quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s and their families,” Harrington says, “and allows them to be able to remain independent for a longer period of time, help make decisions on care and treatment on their own behalf.”
The clinical trial of Lecanemab is in its third phase, so the next step is getting the FDA to approve the drug as a viable treatment. “They’re hoping that by early next year, they’re at that point where the FDA has made a decision,” Harrington says. “It’s only been tested in people with mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s or very early stage Alzheimer’s, so if it is approved, those are the only people that would be approved to get it.”
While it’s promising that this drug appears to be able to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s, he reinforces that it’s not a cure, but it is an important step on the long road. Harrington says it could be some time before this drug is available in Iowa. “There’s another trial, kind of a Phase Two of this trial, that’s actually trying to target people in the preclinical stages,” Harrington says. “In other words, they know that these amyloid plaques can build up in the brain up to 15 to 20 years before somebody starts showing the cognitive decline, so trying to find those people that are preclinical and tested on now.”
More than 6,000,000 people nationwide are living with Alzheimer’s disease, including 66,000 in Iowa. Learn more at: alz.org