The Grapevine

Previously-Scrapped Alzheimer's Drug May Be Effective After All

In one of the most unexpected comebacks of the scientific and medical world, a once-shelved Alzheimer’s drug is given a new lease on life because new data shows that it may be effective after all. Made to slow the progression of the neurological disease, the drug was previously scrapped earlier this year because of preliminary results that are otherwise lackluster, although two new clinical trials suggest that people may actually benefit from it.

Comeback Drug

According to the report published Thursday by the company behind it, the drug called aducanumab has shown an improvement in results since the first time it was initially tested. People who took the highest amounts of it were able to decline by about 30 percent less, which is a common measure of scale when it comes to the progression of Alzheimer’s. The people who took it were compared to people who just took placebo, according to Samantha Haeberlein of the biotechnology company Biogen, who reported the findings at the Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease meeting in San Diego. As a result, Cambridge-based Biogen is now planning to seek approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early 2020 to be able to mass-produce the drug and hopefully bring it to more people who are in need of it.

“The results are exhilarating, not just to the scientific community but our patients as well,” Sharon Cohen, a behavioral neurologist at the Toronto Memory Program, said during a panel discussion at the meeting. Receiving funding from Biogen, Cohen also participated in the trials.

As per Rebecca Edelmayer, director of scientific engagement for the Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago , the presentation “marks an important moment for the Alzheimer’s field.” As a disease, Alzheimer’s can be destructive because it slowly kills the cells that our brain uses, causing our cognitive functions to decay, making us more forgetful. It also affects our ability to think clearly and navigate, and is common with older people.

However, the drug is not without its share of controversy since two major changes in the trials have left some researchers a bit wary about the results.

Alzheimer's A new game app affords early detection of Alzheimer's disease. geralt/Pixabay