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Positive trial results announced for Alzheimer's therapy

The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly have announced initial findings from their trial of the drug 'donanemab' which targets amyloid plaques in people with early Alzheimer's disease with the aim of slowing disease progression.

Overall the drug was effective in removing amyloid plaques from the brain. Encouragingly it is also reported that people who took the drug in the trial fared better on measures of activities of daily living (such as managing finances, driving, engaging in hobbies, and conversing about current events) when compared to people who had not taken the active drug.

This is just an initial announcement made by the company who trialled the drug. We eagerly await further trial data being released at an upcoming scientific conference this July.

Anna Borthwick, Executive Lead for Brain Health said:

"This is very positive news and provides more long-awaited cause for optimism for all of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

It is particularly exciting that in addition to removing the amyloid protein that is recognised as a hallmark of this disease, the treatment led to a slower decline in the ability to function on a daily basis. We know that for people and families affected by dementia, protecting activities such as managing finances, driving, and engaging in hobbies and conversation, is critically important. We eagerly anticipate the release of full results in July, when the scientific community can collaboratively discuss the data and a fuller picture will emerge.

Whilst the top line figures offer hope of living well with disease for longer, there remain concerns about both side effects of treatment and the practicality of offering these treatments in current health services. Our health services are under extreme pressure and are not yet set up to provide the early assessment and intervention tools on which these treatments will rely. In order to effectively deliver these medications to the right people at the right time, we need to revolutionise our healthcare services now – and work is already underway in Scotland to do this.

We would like to recognise and thank everyone who has contributed to taking part in dementia research in Scotland and around the world, without whom progress in finding new treatments and news like today’s would not be possible."

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