The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has this week approved the first drug since 2003 to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Aducanumab, created by US pharmaceutical company Biogen, is an antibody designed to target amyloid, a protein that builds up in the brains of people with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Whereas other existing treatments help to ease symptoms, this is the first drug to target one of the biological contributors of the disease.

Clinical trials found that Aducanumab slows the progression of early Alzheimer’s disease, and whilst it does not stop decline or improve cognition, it marks a significant moment in dementia research.

The approval of this new treatment is thanks, in part, to some of our fantastic Join Dementia Research volunteers who took part in the UK clinical trials.

Vital research like this, can only happen when people volunteer to take part, and 25 people took part in the study after being matched through Join Dementia Research – which equates to approximately 30% of participants in the UK.

What does this announcement mean?

This could mark the beginning of a completely new future for treatments in Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. 

More research will be needed to better understand the benefits and side effects. The drug will also need to be approved by the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This process can take some time.

However this announcement brings renewed hope to all those affected by dementia and really demonstrates the value that taking part in research can have.

Help to improve dementia care and treatments

The best way to help make other dementia breakthroughs possible is to take part in research.

Join Dementia Research makes it easy to find out what research is happening in the UK that you might be able to take part in.

To find out about other dementia studies, sign in to your Join Dementia Research account or if you are not already registered, sign up today.