We now know Alzheimer’s disease to be the most common type of dementia (a general term for loss of memory, language, and other thinking abilities), a condition that affects millions of people around the world. Unlike occasional forgetfulness, dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease is severe enough to interfere with you or your loved one’s everyday life.
Currently, people with Alzheimer's are given other drugs to help manage their symptoms, but none change the course of the disease. The first drug to slow the destruction of the brain in Alzheimer's has been heralded as momentous.
The research breakthrough ends decades of failure and shows a new era of drugs to treat Alzheimer's - the most common form of dementia - is possible. Lecanemab is an antibody - like those the body makes to attack viruses or bacteria - that has been engineered to tell the immune system to clear amyloid from the brain.
Amyloid is a protein that clumps together in the spaces between neurons in the brain and forms distinctive plaques that are one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's.
For a medical field littered with duds, despair and disappointment, some see these trial results as a triumphant turning point. Alzheimer's Research UK said the findings were "momentous".
One of the world's leading researchers behind the whole idea of targeting amyloid 30 years ago, Prof John Hardy, said it was "historic" and was optimistic "we're seeing the beginning of Alzheimer's therapies".