A US drug company has created a drug that could slow Alzheimer's disease, and could soon be available to patients with early signs of the disease.
Drug company Biogen said it is seeking regulatory approval for the drug called aducanumab next week after new analysis revealed it had helped reduce the clinical decline of early signs of Alzheimer’s.
This will be the first treatment available to help slow Alzheimer’s disease and could soon be available to millions around the world. Biogen said some patients had experienced benefits in the areas of memory and language.
’People affected by Alzheimer’s have waited a long time for a life-changing new treatment’
It would be the first real treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, which affects around 500,000 people in the UK.
Hilary Evans, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “People affected by Alzheimer’s have waited a long time for a life-changing new treatment and this exciting announcement offers new hope that one could be in sight.
“Taking another look at aducanumab is a positive step for all those who took part in the clinical trials and the worldwide dementia research community.
"As more data emerges, we hope it will spark global discussions about the next steps for delivering much-needed treatments into people’s hands.”
Aducanumab is an antibody designed to target amyloid, a protein that builds up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s at an early stage in the disease process.
Biogen originally halted clinical trials of aducanumab, called ENGAGE and EMERGE earlier this year when early indications suggested they would not benefit people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, however, the new announcement suggests that the trial EMERGE met its primary goal of reducing cognitive decline in people who took aducanumab.
Biogen said participants who were followed after the trials stopped, those who received greater exposure to high dose aducanumab showed a significant slowing in clinical decline.
Biogen also believes that a subset of people involved in the ENGAGE trial also benefitted from high doses of the drug.
Biogen is now planning a new study to re-offer the drug to eligible participants from their earlier trials of aducanumab. The drug will need to be approved by regulators before it could be offered more widely to the general population.
'It’s only through a sustained commitment to dementia research that will we make breakthroughs possible'
Biogen has announced they plan to file for the market approval for aducanumab with American drug regulator, the FDA, in early 2020.
Ms Evans said: “The FDA will now assess the new data and its strengths and limitations before deciding about whether aducanumab should be made widely available in the US.
"At Alzheimer’s Research UK, we are already bringing together regulators and drug developers to help speed up the delivery of promising new treatments towards patients. This important work now has renewed urgency.
“It’s only through a sustained commitment to dementia research that will we make breakthroughs possible that keep people connected to their families, their worlds and themselves for longer.”