New Drug Shows Promise for Slowing Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer's Patients

The drug is called donanemab.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Eli Lilly and Company have published the latest results from one of the new drugs that seek to slow the cognitive decline of Alzheimer's and the results are looking very promising. The drug is called donanemab and the study, called the TRAILBLAZER-ALZ study, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Saturday.

"This is the first late-stage study in Alzheimer's disease to meet its primary endpoint at the primary analysis. Donanemab has the potential to become a very important treatment for Alzheimer's disease," said in a statement Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., Lilly's chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories. 

"We were pleased to see not only slowing of cognitive and functional decline, but also very substantial clearance of amyloid plaques and slowing of spread of tau pathology. The constellation of clinical and biomarker results indicates the potential for long-term disease modification. We are grateful to the patients, caregivers, and investigators who participated in this landmark study."

The study followed 257 patients with early symptomatic Alzheimer's disease, 131 of which received donanemab, and 126 of which received a placebo. The results revealed that 40 percent of participants treated with the new drug achieved amyloid negativity as early as six months after starting treatment and 68 percent achieved this same target by 18 months.

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"A key insight of the results from the TRAILBLAZER-ALZ study is that donanemab not only significantly reduced the amount of amyloid deposition in these patients but also slowed the clinical progression of the disease suggesting that this could be a disease-modifying therapy. We believe these amyloid and tau imaging data lay the foundation for precision medicine-based Alzheimer's disease treatments," said Liana G. Apostolova, M.D., M.Sc., FAAN, Indiana University (IU) Distinguished Professor and Barbara and Peer Baekgaard Professor in Alzheimer's Disease Research at IU School of Medicine.

If you or a loved one wants to see if they prequalify for the trial, you can visit the website.

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