In 1983, President Ronald Reagan, who himself succumbed to this cruel disease roughly two decades later, declared November to be National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. For nearly forty years, we’ve kept the 6.5 million Americans and 55 million people worldwide who suffer from this disease and their families in our thoughts during this month.
But this year promises to be different. National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month 2022 may be remembered as the beginning of the end of Alzheimer’s disease as we know it. In September, Eisai and Biogen released topline Phase 3 CLARITY-AD results for lecanemab, an anti-Aβ antibody that has received accelerated approval from the FDA for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The data showed highly statistically significant and clinically meaningful effects across the primary and all key secondary endpoints.
This is a pivotal moment in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease which means we may no longer be limited to treating symptoms and can address the pathology of the disease itself. These results affirm the efficacy of Aβ -targeting and, we believe, are paving the way for future R&D in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, including the development of combination treatments like Aβ – and Tau-targeting therapies.
Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease that robs people of their memories and physical function. It’s devastating for families and fatal for patients. And it is a growing threat to society that we cannot afford to underestimate. The number of people in the US suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is projected to nearly double by 2050. Direct and indirect costs associated with Alzheimer’s disease are projected to reach over $1 trillion by 2050, enough to bankrupt Medicare, overwhelm our healthcare system, and spark an economic crisis.
During this Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, we will celebrate pivotal scientific breakthroughs, keep the patients and their families on our hearts, and continue our intensive research efforts to find therapies that can slow, eradicate, and prevent this cruel and costly disease.