Breakthrough Alzheimer’s Drug Introduced by New England Researchers
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.
September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and it seems as though more and more of us have been affected by this terrible disease. Just this summer, I lost my dad, Jon Sr., after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
Respectfully, I’ve been fooled before. It seems like a few times a year, we hear stories about a potential cure or new treatment.
However, a company right here in New England produced some of the most encouraging news in the Alzheimer’s front in quite some time this week.
The Cambridge-based pharmaceutical company Biogen and its partner, Japan’s Eisai Co., reported that progression of Alzheimer’s slowed quite substantially in a major trial, according to the Associated Press.
A drug called lecanemab halted the disease “significantly,” while stopping short of curing it entirely, the news source stated.
Unfortunately, researchers reported no signs of restoring mental capacity that had already been lost to the illness. Still, this could prove to be the most significant victory yet in the battle against Alzheimer’s.
As London, England-based Professor John Hardy told Bloomberg in the wake of the announcements, “It looks like the definite ‘end of the beginning," meaning that if caught and diagnosed early enough, people could prolong their lives simply by taking medication on a regular basis.
Still, I remained somewhat skeptical upon reading that shares of the drug companies involved rose drastically when the study was shared. The news also fell at the very end of World Alzheimer’s Month – the perfect time to claim victory and raise awareness.
However, the experts are sticking to their word and appear to have the facts and figures to back it up, noting that lecanemab reduced the pace of cognitive decline by 27% over an 18-month period, according to the AP. Now comes the deciding moment: awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
In the meantime, there are many ways to seek help or get involved if you or someone you know has been affected by Alzheimer’s Disease.
For more information on how to help or donate, please visit the Alzheimer’s Association.
And keep visiting with your loved ones as long as you can. I’ll never forget Dad, in his final days, opening his eyes in disbelief when I told him his beloved Baltimore Orioles had won nine games in a row (and they would then win their tenth, just hours before he left us).