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New hope as experimental Alzheimer's drug appears to slow worsening of the disease by a third

A new drug appears to slow worsening of Alzheimer's in its early stages, Eli Lilly said in a statement.
A new drug appears to slow worsening of Alzheimer's in its early stages, Eli Lilly said in a statement. Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Euronews with AP
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People in the early stages of Alzheimer’s who received infusions of donanemab in the 18-month trial showed 35 per cent less decline.

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Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. said on Wednesday its experimental Alzheimer’s drug appeared to slow the worsening of the mind-robbing disease in a large study.

In the 18-month trial, people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s who received infusions of donanemab showed 35 per cent less decline in thinking skills compared to those given a placebo, Lilly announced in a statement.

The drug is designed to target and clear away a sticky protein called beta-amyloid that builds up into brain-clogging plaques that are one hallmark of Alzheimer’s.

A similar amyloid-targeting drug, Eisai and Biogen’s Leqembi, recently hit the market with similar evidence that it could modestly slow Alzheimer’s — and also some safety concerns regarding brain swelling or small brain bleeds.

Donanemab also comes with that risk. Eli Lilly said in its study, the brain side effects caused the deaths of two participants, and a third also died after a serious case.

The preliminary study results haven’t been vetted by outside experts. Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly plans to release more details at an international Alzheimer’s meeting this summer and is seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for the drug.

For more on this story, watch the report in the media player above.

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