October 17, 2016

Alzheimer’s Antibody Drug Shows Promise

Amyloid-BetaAlzheimer’s disease affects 5.4 million Americans and by 2050, that number is expected to triple. With such staggering statistics and the correlated social and economic implications to our society, the search for a viable treatment or a way to prevent the disease is a priority to many. Recently, scientist have published the results of a small clinical trial investigating the use of an experimental drug, aducanumab, showing very promising results.

Amyloid-Beta Buildup

Amyloid-Beta are sticky proteins that can clump and tangle together in the brain. These tangled proteins or amyloid plaques are theorized to be one of the culprits involved in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Aducanumab, an experimental drug, was recently tested in hopes that it could remove the buildup of these proteins in the brains of people with early-stage Alzheimer’s.

What did Aducanumab do?

In a recent study published in Nature, 165 patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s participated to test the safety and potential efficacy of aducanumab. Some of the participants received the experimental drug by infusion, at different doses, and the rest were given a placebo infusion.

In the group of patients who received aducanumab, their brain scans showed a significant reduction in amyloid plaques and the amount of plaque reduced  directly corresponded with the amount of the drug given. Virtually no plaques were detected in the patients given the highest dose. Researchers say this study showed the biggest clearance of amyloid than any previous study.

Researchers also found that a group of study patients who received aducanumab and were treated for over a year reported slower cognitive decline as compared to the placebo group.

Reported side effects of the drug included benign swelling in the brain and headaches. These side effects were seen most often in the group taking the highest doses of the drug or those who had a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s.

What’s Next?

Although this study shows the most promise to date, it was a small a study, in the early phases that are meant to test the drug’s safety. Researchers are continuing to further test the drug’s safety and efficacy in larger clinical trials. Other drugs similar to Aducanumab are being studied too.

Join an Upcoming Clinical Trial

Researchers for brain health would not be able to make progress on Alzheimer’s treatments like this if it weren’t for participants in clinical trials. Learn how you can become involved in the effort to find answers for Alzheimer’s disease by exploring available clinical trials options in your area.