Science & Tech

Donanemab: A Potential Alzheimer’s Drug

Donanemab, a medication in clinical trials, has showed significant promise in halting cognitive deterioration in people with early Alzheimer’s.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

  • Alzheimer’s disease is an incurable and progressive brain condition.
  • In Alzheimer’s patients, beta-amyloid, a protein essential for brain function, becomes toxic, creating clumps that damage brain cell connections and cause cognitive difficulties such as memory loss.
  • These protein deposits impede neuron communication, causing degeneration and death.
  • Forgetfulness, difficulty finding words, problem-solving difficulties, bewilderment, and disorientation are early warning symptoms.
  • The actual aetiology of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown, however genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors are thought to play a role.
  • Risk factors include family history, genetic mutations, head injuries, cardiovascular disease, and certain lifestyle factors.

Donanemab: An Antidote Development:

  • Donanemab is a medication being developed by Eli Lilly to treat people with early Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Amyloid Plaques: The medicine targets amyloid plaques in the brain, which are a prevalent feature of Alzheimer’s disease.

Breakthrough in Slowing Cognitive Decline

  • Alarming Burden: With an estimated 14 million cases of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, expected in India by 2050, the need for effective treatments is urgent.
  • Phase III Trial: In a phase III trial, Donanemab demonstrated promising results, slowing cognitive decline by 35% compared to a placebo.
  • Significance: This marks a significant milestone in Alzheimer’s research, as it is the second drug, within a year, to show effectiveness in checking cognitive decline in early-stage Alzheimer’s patients.
  • Limitations: It is essential to note that Donanemab and the previous drug do not stop or reverse Alzheimer’s disease. However, slowing cognitive decline can significantly improve the quality of life for affected individuals and their families.
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