the promising but too risky lecanemab treatment

Japanese researchers are developing a promising treatment to combat cognitive decline linked to Alzheimer’s disease based on the work of the American laboratory Biogen. But the latter is unfortunately a vector of serious adverse effects.

Although common, the disease ofAlzheimer’s is one of the pathologies for which there is as yet no treatment. Logically, all the hopes of patients are turned towards medical research in the hope of finally being able to treat a disease marked in particular by a significant cognitive decline.

A study conducted by Japanese scientists offers very promising results in this area, even if they are still very far from arriving at a reliable treatment.

Reduced cognitive decline

The results of the research conducted by scientists from the Japanese laboratory Eisai, who themselves based themselves on a drug developed by the American firm Biogen, were published in the scientific journal New England Journal of Medicine. Biogen’s drug was first authorized by the US Medicines Agency because it reduced cognitive decline in patients, but it was eventually restricted.

The two laboratories therefore continued testing this molecule, now called Iecanemab, on nearly 1,800 patients and obtained promising results on cognitive decline. Indeed, the researchers found a 27% lower deficit on average. Despite everything, this benefit is far from compensating for the many side effects of the treatment.

Dangerous side effects

Indeed, during the study, the researchers noted many side effects, sometimes very serious. 17.3% of patients in the study developed cerebral hemorrhages (compared to 9% in the placebo group) and 12.6% suffered from cerebral edema (1.7% in the placebo group). Also, the treatment did not significantly reduce mortality. Also, as it stands, the treatment involves many constraints such as injections and frequent scans.

Block certain proteins

Remember that Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the abnormal accumulation of two proteins in the brain: “tau” and “beta-amyloid”. It is this second protein that the Iecanemab treatment attempts to target. Although we are still far from an effective and risk-free drug, each advance in the field, such as this discovery by French and Dutch researchers, is another small step and additional hope for patients.

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