A new study looks at how a promising monoclonal antibody might prevent the disease, a leading cause of death in Michigan.Nikos Frazier.A not-yet-approved drug shows some promise reducing cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.The lone Michigan site, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, is seeking participants ages 55 to 80 who have elevated or intermediate levels of a protein called amyloid in their brains.“This is really the chance to kind of get ahead of Alzheimer’s disease.
Judith Heidebrink of Michigan Medicine, who specializes in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Genetic propensity also is unavoidable, and by the time people have symptoms, they probably have been undergoing biological changes for a decade or more, Heidebrink said.“Because this is a study of people with early biological changes of Alzheimer’s, but absolutely no cognitive impairment, we don’t know who these people are, and they don’t know who they are,” Heidebrink said.
A study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine found the drug “reduced markers of amyloid in early Alzheimer’s disease and resulted in moderately less decline on measures of cognition and function than placebo at 18 months but was associated with adverse events.” Longer trials are warranted, it concludes.This information came after Eisai reported in a September press release lecanemab reduced clinical decline on a cognitive and functional scale by 27% compared to those who received a placebo in a study of 1,795 people with early onset of the disease.An inquiry is ongoing to tease out what role the study drug may have had, she said before Thanksgiving.
Depending on the amount of amyloid buildup in their brains, people must have infusions of the drug or a placebo every two to four weeks in Ann Arbor.Lecanemab interferes with the formation of plaques, abnormal clusters of amyloid, in the brain.
Doctors know the brain shows there are plaques and tangles of these proteins.