If you pay attention to the news about Alzheimer's, then I'm sure you at least caught the headline that a new drug is showing promise in trials currently.
The drug is aducanumab and the test was a phase 2 study which has lasted for a year with a very small set of participants, just 165 people. The test was designed to determine if the medication is safe for humans to take. Of the 165 participants, some dropped out due to side effects such as headaches, build up of fluid on the brain or brain bleeds. Reports on the number of drop-outs vary from 20 to 40 participants. While the phase 2 study was focused on safety, the scientists determined that it was clearing the build up of amyloid beta from the participants brains as intended.
Phase 3 tests will focus on the effectiveness of the drug and will include a much larger number of participants. Phase 3 tests have begun and will take at least 18 months to complete. Patients will undergo monthly infusions and regular testing to determine if aducanumab helps to slow their cognitive decline in addition to clearing the plaques. While each test cycle will take 18 months, there will be multiple test cycles which will continue into 2022.
We're still years from seeing this medication or any other readily available on the market. However, if the phase 3 tests go well, we may be just 5 or 6 years away and that, my friends, may be a game changer.