S. Thomas Carmichael, MD, PhD: Amyloid assassin; Lecanemab makes strides in fight against Alzheimer’s

Stanley Carmichael Jr

"Alzheimer's disease is a condition that not only challenges those who suffer from it, but also the scientists and doctors who strive to combat it. But a new treatment has emerged that offers a glimmer of hope by slowing progression of the disease.

Lecanemab is an infusion that targets amyloid, one of the two abnormal proteins that accumulate in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease, explained S. Thomas Carmichael Jr., MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Neurology at UCLA Health. “Lecanemab recognizes amyloid. Once it’s infused into the bloodstream, it crosses into the brain, where it binds to this abnormal protein and causes the brain to clear it into the bloodstream and then get rid of it.”

While it decelerates progression of the disease, the drug does not reverse Alzheimer's.

The Easton Center for Alzheimer's Research and Care at UCLA was instrumental in the multicenter Clarity AD trial, which is now in phase 4 clinical trials after the FDA approved the efficacy and safety of lecanemab in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. The findings were promising: Not only did lecanemab diminish the presence of amyloid indicators, it also slowed the rate of cognitive and functional deterioration when compared with the control group receiving a placebo.

“At the clinical trial level, people essentially had a six-month delay in disease progression, compared to those who didn't receive lecanemab,” Dr. Carcmichael said. “Lecanemab remarkably clears one of the bad proteins, but there's kind of a mismatch – while there is this profound effect of it clearing up one of the bad proteins, there’s only a modest effect on cognitive function.”"

Read more at UCLA Health.