Updates On Alzheimer’s & Dementia

July 1, 2021

FDA Announces Approval of Aducanumab for Alzheimer’s Disease

It is fitting that the FDA’s recent announcement of the approval of aducanumab, a drug treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, occurred in June 2021. After all, June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month, so the fact that we hear the exciting news about a new drug to help treat Alzheimer’s this month is that more fulfilling.

Given all the hard work that goes into spreading awareness for Alzheimer’s and other dementias in June, getting such great news feels like a massive victory for everyone involved, from the patients and their families to the charities and medical professionals that made this all possible.

Of course, this is only a small step towards the larger goal of eradicating this horrible disease, but it is a step that we are happy to take together as we head towards a better future. Let’s take a closer look at what we know about Aducanumab and its recent approval from the FDA.

What is Aducanumab?

Aducanumab is a drug developed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, created in a partnership between American and Japanese companies Biogen and Eisai. Approved by the FDA at the beginning of June 2021, Aducanumab works different to most current treatments on the market.

What Does Aducanumab Do?

The most notable aspect of aducanumab, and how it differs from current drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s, is that it targets the progression of the disease instead of just the symptoms.

It works by actively targeting and removing amyloid from the brain. Amyloid, a type of protein, often develops into a brain plaque that is known characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. Removal of this plaque may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, reducing the rate of decline significantly.

It is currently the only type of therapy of its kind available, highlighting how monumental the FDA’s approval is.

What are the Outcomes for People Taking Aducanumab?

As FDA approval was only recently granted, the diagnosis for Aducanumab therapy has only been researched on a small scale. However, the diagnosis does appear promising, with improved health for not only the patient, but also the caregiver.

Therefore, early detection of Alzheimer’s is vital to the success of the therapy, ensuring that patients receive the most benefits from the earliest point possible. As the treatment can slow progression, the sooner the patient is diagnosed, the sooner they can slow its progression and the subsequent decline it brings.

What Does the Alzheimer’s Association Make of the Announcement?

The Alzheimer’s Association is at the forefront of the battle against Alzheimer’s and dementia. The charity aids all aspects of global research, spear-heading the USA’s investment in the battle against the disease, which currently receives $3.1 billion in federal investment.

The organization is thrilled with the announcement, having helped contribute towards the treatment through investments towards amyloid PET scans. The charity also led various studies that showcased the importance of amyloid PET imaging in diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s.

“This approval is a victory for people living with Alzheimer’s and their families,” said Harry Johns, Alzheimer’s Association president and chief executive officer.

“This is the first FDA-approved drug that delays decline due to Alzheimer’s disease. This means individuals may have more time to actively participate in daily life, have sustained independence and hold on to memories longer. We can experience longer — the relationships we hold most dear — our families and friends.”

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