Three Good Reasons to be Optimistic
This summer, the Alzheimer’s Association is just full of good news about the strides being made toward treatment, support, and ultimately, a cure for a disease that currently affects more than 6 million people in the U.S. alone. Alzheimer’s Disease is a leading cause of death in this country, and there are more than 11 million friends and family members providing unpaid care for those living with it.
In June, an Advisory Committee to the Food and Drug Administration unanimously endorsed the efficacy and clinical benefit of lecanemab (Leqembi™), as part of the approval process for this new drug treatment. “With this action, we are one step closer to more people living with Alzheimer’s having more time with more of their capabilities intact,” said Joanne Pike, DrPH, Alzheimer’s Association president and CEO.
Leqembi, an anti-amyloid treatment, changes the course of the illness and delivers clear benefit for people in the early stages of their illness. By slowing the progression, this treatment will give people more time to participate fully in daily life, participate in important decisions, and live independently.
“While the thought of a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease is certainly part of my optimism,” said Myra Garcia, member of the Advisory Group, “I’d like you to know that for me, more time is enough for now.”
The next step toward approval of the treatment is the FDA review. The FDA has granted Priority Review to Leqembi with required action on July 6, 2023.
A second announcement declared that the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions passed two bipartisan bills that will strengthen the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease and all other dementias, as well as laws designed to support the people who care for those afflicted. One is the NAPA Reauthorization Act, which extends the landmark National Alzheimer’s Project Act from 2011. The other is the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act, which builds on a law passed in 2014 to ensure that Congress continues to hear directly from scientists on what resources are needed to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s Disease.
And thirdly, on July 1, NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney gave $50,000 to the Alzheimer’s Association to advance research and enhance care and support services. The donation was part of the Race to #ENDALZ Match Challenge that ran throughout the month of June. Blaney founded the Ryan Blaney Family Foundation in 2018 as a tribute to his late grandfather, race car driver Lou Blaney. “Our ongoing partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association is a way for me to continue to honor my grandfather’s legacy,” said Blaney, ”while helping millions of Americans across the country who are directly impacted by Alzheimer’s and dementia.”
New drugs, new laws, and generous donations … all good reasons to believe that the light of a cure at the end of this long dark tunnel might truly be in view. # # #