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Locked [News] Clinical trial for first Alzheimer's drug with effect on cognitive decline seeks recruits in South Texas


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Doctors may eventually be able to diagnose "preclinical" Alzheimer's in patients who have abnormal brain scans but who aren't yet showing behavioral symptoms of the disease.


The Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer's and Neurodegenerative Diseases at UT Health San Antonio is participating in a nationwide clinical trial to test whether a drug, Lecanemab, can prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's in patients who do not yet have symptoms.

Lecanemab, an antibody, was recently found to slow cognitive decline by 27% in people in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). acronym in English).

Now, in partnership with UTRGV, the Biggs Institute is one of dozens of US Alzheimer's disease research centers working on a clinical trial to see if Lecanemab can slow cognitive decline in people who have the markers of Alzheimer's disease but are not yet experiencing symptoms. This is because a protein associated with Alzheimer's, amyloid, can be detected 10 to 20 years before the onset of cognitive decline.

Together, they are seeking volunteers who meet those criteria between the ages of 55 and 80 to participate in the clinical trial.

Dr. Arash Salardini is the Klesse Foundation Distinguished Chair in Alzheimer's and Neurodegenerative Diseases and the Principal Investigator of the clinical trial at the Biggs Institute. He said they are testing the drug in patients who do not experience Alzheimer's symptoms.

“Now what we want to do, and this is also a nationwide trial, is to apply this before people have symptoms, so that their immune systems are working at their best,” he said. "The idea is that if you can stop this amyloid and remove it before people have any symptoms, they will preserve a lot of their cognition."

The hope, Salardini said, is that because the immune system is still at peak capacity in these patients, cognitive decline can be slowed further and produce better results.

Although Lecanemab produced positive results for many of the clinical trial participants in the NEJM study, it is important to be aware of its shortcomings and potential harms.

The drug is not intended to stop or reverse cognitive decline entirely, only to slow it down. Lecanemab also carries some potentially harmful side effects (cerebral swelling and cerebral hemorrhages) as a result of an amyloid-related imaging abnormality (ARIA). There were also two patient deaths during the initial study of Lecanemab, or 0.2% of the 898 patients taking the drug.


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