Can ALZHEIMERS be Treated?

05 December 2021

Lab Chat

The UAE has become only the second country in the world to give the green light to the world’s first and only drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Aduhelm, which received approval from the USA’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year, has now been rubber stamped for use in the UAE, as well.

Aduhelm works by targeting a specific protein in the brain, known as beta-amyloid, which is believed to be one of the key drivers of Alzheimer’s. It will now be administered to patients displaying symptoms of the early stages of the disease, such as mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and mild dementia, in 100mg injections.

Causes not symptoms

Although there are a variety of treatment programmes available which are aimed at alleviating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and MCI, none of them target the disease at its root causes. Indeed, sufferers of the disease and their families have been waiting for decades for such a treatment to surface.

Thanks to technological breakthroughs such as the use of NMR spectroscopy and other advanced techniques, the scientific community has identified beta-amyloid as one of the principal causes of Alzheimer’s. As a result, much research and resources have been devoted towards understanding this protein better and finding a way to inhibit its prevalence in the brain.

Aduhelm is the answer?

Aduhelm, previously known as Aducanumab, is the first drug which has shown encouraging results in clinical trials in that respect. As the suffix “mab” of its original name suggests, Aduhelm works via the use of monoclonal anti-bodies (MABs), which are anti-bodies developed by cloning cells in a lab to ward off problematic tissues for which the human body has no natural protection – such as beta-amyloids.

These MABs have been shown to successfully reduce the presence of beta-amyloids in the brain in both mice and humans. That paved the way for the FDA to rubber stamp the drug for commercial use in June 2021 – and the UAE has now become the first country to follow their lead. Emirati efficiency

After two Phase 3 clinical trials known as EMERGE and ENGAGE, as well as a Phase 1b study named PRIME, the efficacy of the drug was demonstrated and it was approved for use across the UAE. The executive vice president of the Alzheimer’s and Cognitive Impairment Business Unit congratulated the UAE’s Ministry of Health for the speed and efficiency with which it vetted and approved the drug.

“We believe that this drug will give patients with early-stage Alzheimer's disease, their families, and healthcare providers a new glimmer of hope, especially as they have been waiting for scientific progress in this regard for decades,” he remarked. Aduhelm will now be available to all sufferers of mild dementia and MCI in 100mg doses, to be injected intravenously.

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