Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical drug company, announced this morning that a new drug called solanezumab showed some success in treating Alzheimer's disease. The company has been conducting phase three clinical studies on solanezumab for the past 18 months. Solanezumab works by binding to amyloid beta protein to reduce its presence in the brain. (The brains of people with Alzheimer's disease show an excess of this protein.)
The participants in the study included over 2000 people diagnosed with mild Alzheimer's or moderate Alzheimer's and are from 16 different countries. The research was a double-blind, placebo controlled study, which means that neither the researchers not the patients knew who was receiving the medication and who was receiving the placebo, or fake medicine.
The results demonstrated a significant slowing of cognitive decline in the overall population of the study. Per Lilly, as they further broke down the data, solanezumab appears most effective in those with early/mild Alzheimer's. As for side effects, at least one percent of participants experienced side effects of lethargy, rash, malaise or angina.
Due to its relative success, the researchers are now continuing this study as an open label extension study, which means that any participant in the study may elect to continue (or begin if they were receiving the placebo) to receive solanezumab and remain in the ongoing study. According to Lilly, 95% of the study's participants are choosing to remain in the extension study and are receiving solanezumab.
I had the privilege of speaking this morning with Dr. Maria Carrillo, Senior Director, Medical and Scientific Relations, at the Alzheimer's Association about the solanezumab results. She stated that the Alzheimer's Association is hopeful and encouraged about these clinical trial results, noting that solanezumab is the first drug therapy targeting amyloid proteins to demonstrate this type of success.
Clinical Trial Information
Speaking of the Alzheimer's Association, did you know that they have a program called TrialMatch? TrialMatch allows people to register their information so that they can be alerted to clinical trials for Alzheimer's treatments that may be appropriate for them. There are 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer's and only 19,000 of them are registered with TrialMatch. If you or your loved one are living with Alzheimer's, you may want to consider this way to possibly benefit from a new treatment as well as contribute to the body of research on Alzheimer's.
More Information on Treatments for Alzheimer's