A small trial of an investigational Alzheimer’s disease drug developed by Eli Lilly has shown promise in treating degenerative disease, which has proven to be very difficult to treat over the years.
The drug, called donanemab, slowed the decline in memory and the ability to perform daily functions by 32% after 18 months among trial participants who received the treatment compared to those who received a placebo, Lilly mentionned Monday.
The company announced the first results in a press release and said details of the study will be presented at a future medical conference and in a peer-reviewed article. Lilly stock jumped 20 percent in pre-market trading Monday.
“This is a great time for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. There is still hope, ”said Daniel Skovronsky, Scientific Director of Eli Lilly. The Wall Street Journal.
Lilly’s trial, a phase 2 study, enrolled 272 people with mild symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The company has started recruiting volunteers in a larger study to confirm the results.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all cases worldwide. In the United States, Alzheimer’s disease has an impact nearly six million Americans and one in ten people aged 65 and over. Efforts to develop a treatment for the brain disease have repeatedly failed, causing many drugmakers to give up. Even diagnosis and prevention remained a difficult task.
“We have only made gradual progress in therapy since the late 1990s. We still do not know a lot about Alzheimer’s disease, including which part of the brain breaks down first and how or when to intervene.” Bill Gates, whose foundation has donated tens of millions of dollars to research related to Alzheimer’s disease, wrote in a blog post in November.
Last summer, an investigational drug called aducanumab manufactured by Biogen Inc. has been submitted to the FDA For approval. But in November, a panel of experts advising the FDA mentionned Data from the Biogen study did not support the effectiveness of the treatment.
Aducanumab and donanemab are antibodies that aim to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by stopping the build-up of sticky deposits of a protein called amyloid, which is believed to be strongly linked to degenerative disease, in the brain of a patient.
Lilly’s donanemab is more aggressive than most anti-amyloid drugs in that it is designed not only to slow the build-up of proteins, but also to remove them from the brain. Skovronsky said the goal is to get as much of the drug as possible through the blood-brain barrier that protects the brain in order to strike the amyloid plaques.
“Part of our strategy is to treat Alzheimer’s disease like cancer,” he said. The newspaper.