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Experimental drug shows promising results in slowing down Alzheimer's

The Alzheimer’s Association is calling for the FDA to grant accelerated approval for the drug Lecanemab.

ARKANSAS, USA — On this final day of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, there's a glimmer of hope in the fight against the disease. New data from a clinical trial for the drug Lecanema, a drug aimed at delaying Alzheimer’s progression, shows promise. 

Alzheimer's is a disease found in more than 50,000 people over the age of 65 in Arkansas. Right now, there are very few treatment options.

Something John Moran knows all too well.

“It's a hard thing to watch is, you know, as it progresses, it doesn't get any better,” Moran said.

He became his sister Dorinda’s caregiver in 2020 when she was diagnosed with the disease.

"My sister has a very vibrant personality, is somebody that fun to be around with, and likes to go out and do things and very outgoing," he said. "Now, she can't leave a nursing home. And you know, her personality is totally altered from what it was."

People impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease are getting new hope as peer-reviewed research from the makers of the drug Lecanemab shows it modestly slowed the disease's progression by about five months in early-stage patients. This could give those with the disease more time to live independently.

Breana Tucker is the senior program director and research champion for the Alzheimer’s Association and says the data is encouraging.

"The data that was presented and published in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms this treatment can be meaningful to change the course of the disease for people living in the earliest stages of Alzheimer's Disease,” Tucker said.

Side effects include swelling, which was seen in about 13% of recipients, as well as bleeding in the brain. Even with risks, Tucker remains hopeful.

"This is just gonna give another tool to utilize which is going to provide, hopefully, some support and alleviate some of the symptoms that go on with this disease," Tucker said. "This, the disease itself is very difficult and can be long, and we're just hopeful to provide this can provide some sort of support for those living with this disease."

People like Dorinda and her family.

“It will hopefully someday help other people who will be faced with this situation, so they don't have to go through what mean so many other people have gone through it,” Moran said.

The Alzheimer’s Association is calling for the FDA to grant accelerated approval for the drug. The FDA is expected to decide on that by January 6.

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