According to the WHO, the worldwide prevalence of people living with dementia amounts to approximately 50 million people, with approximately 60% living in low- or middle- income countries. In addition to the constantly increasing prevalence, estimated to be around 10 million new cases annually, the total number of people with dementia is projected to reach 82 million in 2030 and 152 million in 2050.

Despite the increasing prevalence, there is no successful treatment currently available to cure dementia or even to alter its progressive course. Numerous efforts have been in effect from many pharmaceutical companies aiming to find a cure to treat this debilitating condition.

In the hope for a new treatment, and recent ongoing trials of a potential therapy has been in the limelight in the pharmaceutical space, following recent news from Biogen a multinational US pharmaceutical company that has created the first successful drug therapy aimed at slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease , the most common form of dementia contributing 60-70% of total cases.

Biogen officials will soon seek regulatory approval in the US for this revolutionary drug called aducanumab. The plan to file the paperwork is scheduled around early 2020 and plans to be introduced in Europe. Prior to this recent news, the drug had previously been tested in a large clinical study which been halted in March as a result of disappointing trial results.

Further investigation into the study led to a thorough investigational analysis of a larger dataset of identical studies and concluded that higher doses of aducanumab could provide substantial benefit to patients with early Alzheimer’s presenting with clinical decline allowing patients to preserve more of their memory and carry out daily tasks.

Following the exciting news of  potential treatment, there is a positive step for all those who took part in the clinical trial and for people affected by Alzheimer’s who have waited a long time for a life-changing new treatment, therefore the activities over the coming year or so should be closely monitored.

References

  1. Wold Health Organisation. Dementia Facts (2019). Available from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dementia [Accessed 28 October 2019]
  2. World Health Organisation. World Alzheimer Report 2018- The state of the art of dementia research: New frontiers. Available from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dementia
  3. Sevigny J et al. (2016)The antibody aducanumab reduces Aβ plaques in Alzheimer's diseaseNature. 2016 Aug 31;537(7618):50-6.

Rubhaan Malik 

Epidemiology Analyst