In 2018, approximately 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s dementia, a number that is expected to double within the next 30 years. Alzheimer’s disease causes memory loss, mood changes, and eventually difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking. Currently, no medication exists that can slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and no new treatments have been approved by the FDA in more than 15 years.

On July 25th, Eisai Co. Ltd. and Biogen Inc. presented positive results from a Phase 2 clinical trial testing the new Alzheimer’s drug BAN2401. The trial included 856 patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease who received the drug, which targets a protein called β-amyloid. When β-amyloid folds into the wrong shape, it sticks together and forms plaques around neurons, blocking their ability to communicate. BAN2401 binds to the components of these plaques and promotes their clearance.

Twelve months into the treatment, the drug initially produced disappointing results; however, at 18 months, 161 patients (those receiving the highest dose) showed a reduction in amyloid plaques. These patients also exhibited a 30% slower cognitive decline, making BAN2401 the first drug to improve brain function. There are caveats to consider: Patients with a gene called APOE4, which has been associated with accelerated cognitive decline, were excluded from this treatment group due to a predisposition to drug-induced brain swelling. This prompts us to question whether the drug will be effective in all patients. We are both excited —and cautious— as we await the Phase 3 clinical trial results.

Managing Correspondent: Jeremy Gungabeesoon

Press Release:

Eisai And Biogen Announce Detailed Results Of Phase II Clinical Study Of BAN2401 In Early Alzheimer’s Disease At Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2018

New Alzheimer’s drug shows hints of promise in inventive trial

Clinical Trial (National Institute on Aging/National Institutes of Health):

BAN2401 for Early Alzheimer’s Disease

A Study to Evaluate Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of BAN2401 in Subjects With Early Alzheimer’s Disease

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

8 thoughts on “Hope for Alzheimer’s patients? The first positive clinical trial results in years

  1. If you have any updates on this and any other studies please notify me. My husband was diagnosed 2 years ago. Thank you.

  2. Please let me know how my relative with Alzheimers can possibly receive this medication or get into another study. Also let me know of any advances that could help slow and/or improve her brain function.

  3. Please notify me of new clinical trials. My husband is only 61 and just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We want to participate in the trials. Thank you

  4. My husband has early memory loss and spent his life teaching teaching special students with learning disabilities. I am praying there is something in the pipeline for all people with this horrible disease. Please notify me if there is a clinical trial or a new medication showing positive results.

  5. I would like to participate in your study for Alzheimer’s. I’ve been tested but said I didn’t have it but my memory is getting worse. I’m 59 and would like information. My mother also has Alzheimer’s and would like to participate.

    1. I’m so sorry, but we just provided a review of this study and have no control over the study participants. Best of luck.

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