Researchers have shown for the first time that a newly approved drug can neutralise small aggregates of beta-amyloid that float in brain tissue fluid and impair neuronal function.
In January, the US Food and Drug Administration approved lekanemab, an antibody-based drug for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In a phase III clinical trial, lecanemab slowed cognitive decline in patients with early-stage dementia.
Scientists suspect that the drug’s positive effect may be due to its ability to bind and neutralise soluble beta-amyloid protein aggregates, also known as protofibrils. These small clumps can form in the brain and then coalesce into large amyloid plaques.
“The paper is timely because, for the first time in human history, we have an agent that can actually treat people with Alzheimer’s in a way that could slow their cognitive decline,” says Dennis Selkoe, Dennis Selkoe, PhD, Co-director at the Centre for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.