Phase 3 trials of donamemab, a drug against cognitive decline, seem promising, according to the Lilly laboratory which is developing it. This drug aims to eliminate toxic beta-amyloid plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Researchers are constantly looking for a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, and among all the molecules tested, there is donamemab, an immunotherapy treatment that would slow cognitive decline in patients who have just been diagnosed. .
According to the Lilly laboratory, which has just published the first results of a phase 3 trial involving more than 1,700 patients aged 60 to 85 with mild cognitive impairment or suffering from mild-stage Alzheimer’s disease, these first results would be encouraging.
Donamemab: what results on patients?
Thus, “out of the 1736 participants, a 22% slowing of cognitive decline was observed in patients who received donanemab after 18 months of treatment. Donanemab also reduced the deficits assessed on the ability to perform daily tasks” underlines the Vaincre Alzheimer Foundation, in a press release.
The Lilly laboratory was also interested in the impact of the Tau protein (the other marker responsible for Alzheimer’s disease) in the response to treatment. Patients with a high level of Tau would indeed be likely to have a more rapid progression of the disease by responding less well to treatments. In the group of patients with average Tau levels, the results of donamemab would be even more promising: 40%” we learn in the study.
Donamemab: what side effects?
The Lilly laboratory reports that 24% of participants developed cerebral edema and 31.4% presented cerebral microhemorrhages. Reactions related to the route of administration of donanemab by infusion were also reported in 8.7% of treated patients.
“These side effects are often observed on treatments whose action is to clean the amyloid plaques of the brain. In the majority of cases, these complications are asymptomatic and can be without consequences if they are treated in time according to the Vaicre Alzheimer Foundation. However, in this phase 3 trial, 1.6% of participants reported severe microbleeds and 3 patients died.
Source: New drug donanemab slows cognitive decline in early Alzheimer’s, New Scientist, May 2023