NEW HOPE New Alzheimer’s wonder drug can slow disease and declog the brain in just six months

THE most powerful Alzheimer’s drug yet has been proven to slow the disease — heralding “a new era where it could become treatable”.

Donanemab rid the brain of 84 per cent of toxic amyloid plaque proteins in tests and held up mental decline by up to 60 per cent.

Alzheimer’s drug Donanemab has been proven to slow the disease

Alzheimer’s drug Donanemab has been proven to slow the disease

It was most effective for people in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s, the top cause of dementia, and kept working after the drug trial cut-off point — meaning the benefits may be even greater.

Many people only took donanemab for six months to clear decades of plaque.

Seven in ten were off the medication after 18 months.

The drug, which slowed mental decline by 36 per cent on average, has been developed by US firm Eli Lilly and Company.

It contains antibodies, is injected and was tested on 1,736 patients with amyloid proteins in their brains.

The proteins clump together, getting so bad they cause nerve damage and kill off cells.

Donanemab is the second drug proven to reverse the process.

Last year, lecanemab was shown to slow decline by 27 per cent.

Prof Giles Hardingham, director of the UK Dementia Research Institute, said: “It is terrific to see these results.

“We’ve waited a long time for Alzheimer’s treatments, so it’s really encouraging to see tangible progress.

“We’re on the edge of exciting, significant change.”

Dr Susan Kohlhaas, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, added: “We’re entering a new era where Alzheimer’s disease could become treatable.”

And Dr Richard Oakley, of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “This is a turning point.

“Treatments like donanemab are the first steps towards a future where Alzheimer’s disease could be considered a long-term condition alongside diabetes or asthma.”

Dr Mark A. Mintun, of Eli Lilly, hailed donanemab’s ability to clear 20 years of plaque in six to 12 months.

He said: “It will take years before it builds back up to some level that starts accelerating disease.

“People with early symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease are still working, enjoying trips . . . they want to feel like themselves for longer.”

UK drugs watchdog the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency will decide if the treatments are safe to use on the NHS.

They can cause severe side-effects and will be costly.

Around 900,000 Brits have dementia, with Alzheimer’s responsible for two in three cases.

It is the UK’s top killer and cases are rising.

Gran's jabs trial boost

A GRAN taking the first drug proven to slow Alzheimer’s says she is “fully functional and doing very well”.

Joan Murtaugh, 77, joined a trial at Cleveland Clinic in the US to take new drug lecanemab after her diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment in 2017.

Gran Joan Murtaugh, pictured with husband Larry, said: 'My memory is much better than it was'

Gran Joan Murtaugh, pictured with husband Larry, said: 'My memory is much better than it was'

She says her condition has improved and “my memory is much better than it was”.

Husband Larry, 77, added: “This drug is little short of a miracle.”

Goal kings 'in danger'

FOOTBALLERS who frequently head the ball are up to 3½ times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, research shows.

Most prone are those who do it over 15 times per match or training session — such as strikers, like dementia sufferer Sir Bobby Charlton, and centre-backs.

The results are based on 469 retired pros in England.

Footballers who frequently head the ball are up to 3½ times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s - pictured dementia sufferer Sir Bobby Charlton

Dr Weiya Zhang, of Nottingham University, said: “It seems advisable to reduce exposure to head impacts.”

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