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New Alzheimer’s drug shows promise in small trial

Treatment reduced brain plaques, but effects on mental function not clear

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1:00pm, August 31, 2016
brain scans

PLAQUE BUSTER  In a trial of 165 people, brain scans showed reductions in amyloid-beta plaques (red) in people given the antibody aducanumab compared with a placebo. Higher doses caused more amyloid reduction. 

An experimental drug swept sticky plaques from the brains of a small number of people with Alzheimer’s disease over the course of a year. And preliminary results hint that this cleanup may have staved off mental decline.

News about the new drug, an antibody called aducanumab, led to excitement as it trickled out of recent scientific meetings. A paper published online August 31 in Nature offers a more comprehensive look at the drug’s effects.

“Overall, this is the best news that we’ve had in my 25 years doing Alzheimer’s clinical research,” study coauthor Stephen Salloway of Brown University said August 30 at a news briefing. “It brings new hope for patients and families most affected by the disease.”

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