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Under the microscope: lecanemab

This month: lecanemab

What is lecanemab?

It is a drug that is hoped to slow Alzheimer’s disease, which has been developed by the pharma companies Eisai and Biogen.

Does it work?

Eisai and Biogen have said their drug works when given in the early stages of the disease. And recently released trial results look positive.

Tell me about the trial.

The full details have yet to published, but it appears to slow the pace of the brain’s decline. A total of 1795 volunteers in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease were injected with lecanemab every two weeks and regularly had memory and mental agility tested.

What were the results?

The pace of cognitive decline was reduced by 27% over the course of the 18-month trial, in comparison with people given a dummy, or placebo, treatment, the pharmaceutical companies said.

What has the response been?

There is broad agreement from experts that it is “an unambiguously statistically positive result”.  There has also been a note of caution – that while the 27% decline sounds very impressive, the difference in the scores between groups was small – 0.45 points on an 18-point scale.

What next?

Well, firstly – while results have been released, there has been no peer-reviewed publication yet, so we should be cautious until that is out. The companies behind the drug have also started the application process for regulatory approval in the US, Europe and also Japan.

Where can I read more?

The initial results can be seen here with a peer-reviewed paper expected soon.

Image Credit | iStock

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