ALZHEIMER’S DRUG

The new Alzheimer’s drug Donanemab was found to slow down cognitive decline by 35% in people with early Alzheimer’s.

Key Details:

The new drug has been developed by the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly. It was observed that the new Drug named ‘Donanemab’, does not only slow down cognitive decline by 355 but it also noted a 40% less decline in people’s ability to do day to day tasks.
What is Alzheimer?

  • Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the day-to-day task.
  • Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases.

How does the Drug work:

  • Donanemab is a monoclonal antibody that targets the abnormal plaques of amyloid beta protein characteristically seen in brain images of those with Alzheimer’s.
  • Its mechanism is similar to ‘Lecanemab’, the drug developed by the American and Japanese company earlier this year.
  • Aducanumab, which was the first Alzheimer’s drug to receive approval in 2021 after decades also had similar mechanism of action.
  • All three drugs are linked to similar side effects i.e., temporary swelling and tiny bleeds in the brain.

Significance

  • Alzheimer’s disease affects at least 55 million people worldwide. According to an estimate India’s burden of dementia will increase to 14 million by 2050.
  • Dementia is one of the hardest conditions to treat. As a result, pharmaceutical companies stop their research when it’s unprofitable and they see their chances of success as low
  • However, the consecutive success of three drugs in slowing cognitive decline in patients with early Alzheimer establishes that one of the main causes of the disease are the abnormal clumps of amyloid beta protein around brain cells.
  • However still there is no consensus among the researchers about the actual cause of Dementia.
  • Another group believes that Alzheimer’s could be an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system cannot distinguish between brain cells and the fats that make up the envelope of bacteria.
  • Still there are others who believe that Alzheimer’s is caused by excessive deposition of iron and depletion of an antioxidant called glutathione.

Dementia in India:

  • The estimated dementia prevalence for adults ages 60+ in India is 7.4%.
  • About 8.8 million Indians older than 60 years live with dementia.
  • Dementia is more prevalent among females than males and in rural than urban areas.
  • According to a report by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), India’s rating in Progress towards targets of the WHO Global action plan on dementia has dropped.
  • That means there is lack of sufficient efforts on the part of government to deal with dementia in India.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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