SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Regulators have taken a step forward in the fight against Alzheimer’s with the approval of a drug called Aducanumab. It’s a drug designed to remove sticky deposits of a protein from patients who are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.
A local family has been battling the disease for more than a decade and is hopeful that this new drug will bring a sense of hope.
For more than 60 years, Brenda Alexander has been playing the piano.
“Even after she was not able to talk anymore she was able to play, until about a year ago,” said Mark Applegate.
About 13 years ago, Brenda was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and her symptoms have worsened over the past four years.
“We had all our kids there and we said, ‘Hey mom show us how you used to get on to us to see if it’s the same as we do to our kids,’ and she couldn’t remember my full name to do it,” said Applegate.
Doctors are hopeful Aducanumab, the drug the FDA approved, will help.
“It means everything to the family,” said Stacy Tew-Lovasz, who is the president of the Greater Missouri Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “It means more time, it means they can be more independent and they can retain memories longer. Again, what this does is delay the decline of the disease.”
It’s the first Alzheimer’s treatment drug to gain approval in 18 years. However, mixed results in clinical trials have some feeling skeptical.
“Looking at the dosage of the drug looking at when drugs are administered and different things like that and I think for that reason it became a complicated set of data,” said Tew-Lovasz. “It’s been a tough decision to get to, but having a diverse opinion of many scientists is important.”
“There may be some side effects, we are still waiting to see how that all works out, but it’s cautiously optimistic for those folks that’ll be eligible,” said Applegate.
Applegate says he is hopeful this new approval will be the key in the continued fight against Alzheimer’s.
“It’s at this point it’s not going to help her, but it’s going to help millions of people if it does as good as they hope it is,” said Applegate.