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Promising Alzheimer's Results

A small clinical trial suggests that a monoclonal antibody treatment from Eli Lilly may slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, the New York Times reports.

The company announced yesterday initial results from its Phase 2 TRAILBLAZER-ALZ study. In the trial, 272 patients with signs of Alzheimer's disease were given placebo or Donanemab, which targets a modified form of beta amyloid. After 76 weeks, patients given Donanemab declined less than those given placebo based on cognitive assessment measures. The company estimates that treatment slowed decline by 32 percent. The treated patients also experienced a decline in amyloid plaque levels.

The Times notes that previous trials of Alzheimer's disease treatments have skipped from Phase 1 to Phase 3 trials where they have faltered, and that this trial — though small and as-yet-unpublished — would be the first positive Phase 2 results for an Alzheimer's disease treatment.

The University of California, San Francisco's Michael Weiner tells the Times that though the results still need to be replicated, "this is big news."

"This holds out hope for patients and their families," he adds