Interested in joining a clinical trial? Go here to find studies you might be eligible for: https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/clinical-trials
George Bush was president. The first President Bush. Gas was $1.59 a gallon. Apple introduced iTunes, and Michael Jordan retired from basketball.
That was 2003, and another important thing happened that year. The FDA approved the drug Namenda for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.
And here we sit, all these years later, still waiting for the next big breakthrough. Since then, there have been more than 400 clinical trials involving more than 250 different compounds and a failure rate of 100 percent.
Until, perhaps, now.
You may have heard that the FDA has been asked to approve a new Alzheimer’s drug. We don’t know if they’re going to say yes, but if they do, we’ll finally have the breakthrough we’ve been waiting 16 years to see.
If so, what might that mean for people with MCI? That’s what I want to offer some perspective on today.
Hi, I’m Tony Dearing, of GoCogno.com, the website for people with mild cognitive impairment.
If you watch these videos I do every week, you know that I rarely talk about Alzheimer’s. People with MCI don’t have dementia. They have MCI, and that’s what I focus on.
If I do bring up Alzheimer’s, it’s usually in the context of reminding you that most people with MCI don’t have Alzheimer’s and aren’t going to progress to Alzheimer’s.
But there are times when what’s going on in the world of Alzheimer’s research is as relevant to people with MCI as it is to everyone else, and this is one of those times.
If you’re not up to speed on this, the drug company Biogen is asking the FDA to approve an experimental drug to treat people with MCI or the early stage of Alzheimers.
Now this is not slam dunk. It’s actually kind of a surprise. Biogen had said it was halting large clinical trials involving this drug because it did not appear likely to work. But toward the end of the trial, before they pulled the plug, they started giving some patients a higher dose of the drug and as the results came in, Biogen says it appears those patients did benefit.
Biogen hasn’t released the specifics yet, so it’s hard to know how significant the drug was, or whether the FDA will approve it. We’ll see.
For now, I think there are a couple of reasons why people with MCI should find encouragement and hope in this.
The fact that this new drug is headed to the FDA is a harbinger of things to come. Compared to five or 10 years ago, there are better, more promising Alzheimer’s drugs in the pipeline than ever before.
And it’s not just Alzheimer’s drugs that are advancing in research. Other drugs that can benefit people with MCI in other ways are in the pipeline as well.
After 16 years, to finally have something, anything, headed to the FDA for possible approval is welcome news and reason for hope.
As for you, what can you do now? Well, two things. First, you can pursue health behaviors that give you the best possible chance of halting or slowing your cognitive decline, while this research continues.
Second, consider being part of the solution. If there’s a clinical trial out there that you might be eligible for, consider enrolling it in. It could benefit you, and it certainly will benefit others in the future.
I’ve included a link above where you can find information about clinical trials you might be eligible for. Or click on the image here and it will take you to that site.
I hope you look into that, and I look forward to seeing you again next week. Until then, as always, be kind to your mind.