Daily US Times: The first new drug for Alzheimer’s disease for nearly 20 years has been approved by regulators in the US, paving the way for its use in the UK.
Aducanumab targets the underlying reasons of Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, rather than its symptoms.
Charities have welcomed the news of a new treatment for the condition, but scientists are divided over its potential impact because of uncertainty over the trial results.
At least 100,000 people in the United Kingdom with a mild form of the disease could be suitable for the treatment if it were to be approved by the UK regulator.
There was “substantial evidence that aducanumab reduces amyloid beta plaques in the brain” and that this “is reasonably likely to predict important benefits to patients”, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said.
In March 2019, late-stage international trials of the Alzheimer’s drug, involving about 3,000 patients, were halted when analysis showed the drug, given as a monthly infusion, was not better at slowing the deterioration of memory and thinking problems than a dummy drug.
But later that year, Biogen, the US manufacturer, analysed more data and concluded the drug did work, as long as it was given in higher doses. The company also said it significantly slowed cognitive decline.
The director of the UK Dementia Research Institute, Prof Bart De Strooper, said the decision to approve aducanumab marked “a hugely significant milestone” in the search for treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.