Does the trial published on July 17 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) seem convincing to you?
It is legitimate to be enthusiastic, even if there is still a long way to go. The results are statistically significant. 1,300 volunteers with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease received an antibody – “donanemab” – as an infusion every four weeks for eighteen months. At the end of this clinical trial, they saw their cognitive and functional abilities decline about 30% less quickly than patients placed on placebo. Even if side effects are not negligible, 150,000 to 300,000 patients in France could benefit from it.
Where does your optimism come from?
This antibody, made in the laboratory, “cleans” the vessels of the brain of “senile plaques” and harmful accumulations that clump between and inside neurons, which leads to premature aging of the brain and the neurodegenerative process. Today, we now have a means of acting on the causes of Alzheimer’s, whereas until now we could only fight against the symptoms. In addition, this trial was held for eighteen months, but the disease can develop over thirty years. We can therefore hope that donanemab will be even more effective when taken over a long period of time.
Great news for research?
Yes. The network of Resource and Research Memory Centers (CMRR) is very well structured and we are already preparing. This trial reinforces the proof of the effectiveness of this type of treatment, two of which are already marketed in the United States. It also opens up a new line of care that must be implemented at an early stage. Research is relaunched, whereas the laboratories had put it on hold for twenty-five years for lack of results. The context today is very favorable to progress against this disease with the implementation of a screening blood test or the development of imaging markers.