- An experimental drug made by Eli Lilly appears to be effective in helping slow cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
- The drug called donanemab was used in a Phase 3 trial with over 1,100 individuals participating. Officials at Eli Lilly said the drug was able to help people with mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Eli Lilly officials said they will be asking the FDA for approval for the drug as an Alzheimer’s disease treatment this year.
An experimental drug appears to slow cognitive and functional decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a report by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.
The drug called donanemab was used in a Phase 3 trial with over 1,100 individuals participating. Officials at Eli Lilly said the drug was able to help people with mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease.
Experimental drug slows cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s
Company officials reported that about 47% of people taking the medication over a year-long period did not decline according to clinical guidelines for dementia compared to 29% of people taking the placebo.
The company reported that compared to people taking a placebo people taking donanemab were less likely to see declines in their ability to perform daily activities. Specifically, they had 40% less decline in the ability to perform activities of daily life including managing finances, driving, and taking part in hobbies.
Additionally, those on the drug had a 39% less risk of progressing to the next stage of Alzheimer’s disease compared to the people on a placebo.
Targeting plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease
The company also used PET imaging to see if the drug reduced amyloid plaques in the brain, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. They found that 34% of participants were able to achieve amyloid clearance in 6 months and 71% achieved clearance at 12 months.
“Amyloid plaque is a defining pathophysiological feature of Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr. Eric Reiman, CEO of Banner Research, one of the research sites for the trial, said in a press release. “This study’s topline results provide compelling support for the relationship between amyloid plaque removal and a clinical benefit in people with this disease.”
Eli Lilly officials said they will be asking the FDA for approval for the drug as an Alzheimer’s disease treatment this year.
Alzheimer’s disease group says findings “strongest to date”
Officials at the Alzheimer’s Association called the study findings “significant” and called for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to cover the costs of these drugs in their coverage.
“These are the strongest phase 3 data for an Alzheimer’s treatment to date. This further underscores the inflection point we are at for the Alzheimer’s field. The progress we’ve seen in this class of treatments, as well as the diversification of potential new therapies over the past few years, provides hope to those impacted by this devastating disease,” Maria C. Carrillo, Ph.D., Alzheimer’s Association chief science officer said in a statement. “Yet, Medicare stubbornly continues to block access for the people who could benefit.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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