(NewsNation) — The experimental Alzheimer’s drug Lecanemab reportedly slowed cognitive decline in patients by 27% over 18 months, according to new results released Tuesday by the Japanese drugmaker Eisai.
Results from the phase 3 clinical trial have yet to be peer-reviewed, however, the president of the Alzheimer’s Association Dr. Joanne Pike called the results an “exciting major development” and that they are the “most encouraging results in clinical trials treating the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s to date.”
“These results indicate Lecanemab may give people more time at or near their full abilities to participate in daily life, remain independent and make future healthcare decisions,” she said in a statement.
The drug is not without its critics, including University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Neurologist Dr. Alberto Espay, who told NBC News that the benefits seen with Lecanemab are “small” and may not yield significant improvements for patients. He added, “patients can view this [new development] with cautious optimism.”
It follows the FDA’s controversial approval of Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm. It received pushback from politicians, physicians and insurers despite being the first new Alzheimer’s medication in nearly two decades.
While Aduhelm only receiving “accelerated” approval, Eisai is hoping for a “traditional” approval from the FDA by March.
The study tested 1,800 patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s over 18 months using a CDR-SB scale, which Eisai said is “used to quantify the various severity of symptoms of dementia.”
Eisai plans to present the results at an Alzheimer’s conference in late November.