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Trial of Alzheimer’s drug provides hopeful results

A large clinical trial has, for the first time, shown that a drug can reduce both plaques in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and slow the progression of their dementia.

According to The New York Times, results presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Chicago showed the drug, known currently as BAN2401, actually slowed memory decline and other cognitive difficulties, as well as reduced amyloid levels in brains of affected patients. The trial involved 856 patients from the United States, Europe, and Japan with early symptoms of cognitive decline.

The combination of amyloid reduction and slowed memory decline is the success that other drugs have not been able to achieve. Researchers split participants into groups, administering different doses of the drug to each group (including a placebo group that did not receive the drug); of those who took the highest dose, 81% showed significant drops in amyloid levels as well as better performance on cognitive tests–showing a 30% slower decline than the placebo group.

The trial was a Phase 2 trial, measuring the safety and efficacy of the drug. The drug would need to move to Phase 3 before FDA approval. Fewer than 10% of trial participants experienced significant adverse events, making the drug appear relatively safe.