19 July 2023

A new method of treating early-stage Alzheimer's disease has been proposed

The clinical benefit of the monoclonal antibody donanemab, designed to eliminate amyloid plaques in the brain, was demonstrated in early symptomatic Alzheimer's disease. This drug significantly slowed the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers from Indiana University together with specialists from Boston, Lund and Edinburgh Universities studied the effect of prolonged use of the monoclonal antibody donanemab on the course of Alzheimer's disease in patients with early symptomatic and pathologic deposition of amyloid and tau protein. The results of the study are published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study included 1,736 patients with early symptomatic Alzheimer's disease (mild cognitive impairment/mild dementia) in whom positron emission tomography revealed pathologic accumulation of amyloid and tau protein in the brain. The mean age of the participants was 73 years, of whom more than 57% were women.

Patients were equally divided into two treatment groups: intravenous donanemab or placebo every four weeks for 72 weeks. After 76 weeks, researchers assessed changes in participants' mean scores using a 144-point scale to determine the severity of Alzheimer's disease. The lower the score, the greater the degree of disease progression.
The difference in changes in mean scores by the end of treatment was -6.02 in the donanemab group and -9.27 in the placebo group among participants with low/moderate tau protein deposition. For the entire population, these scores were -10.19 in the donanemab group and -13.11 in the placebo group. The greatest deterioration in scores was seen in the placebo group.

Thus, the scientists confirmed the efficacy of donanemab in slowing the progression of early-stage Alzheimer's disease in patients with pathologic accumulation of amyloid and tau protein in the brain.
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