TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Tampa Bay Scientists were involved in the approval of the new Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm.
On Monday, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved Aduhelm for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.READ MORE: CW69 Sports Interview: Shawn Elliott (Cont'd)
According to local experts, the new drug will be given to people with milder symptoms.
Dr. Amanda Smith works for the University of South Florida Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Center and Research Institute and says “This is really a dawn of a new era, so to speak.”
Michelle Branham, Vice President of the Public Policy Department of the Florida Alzheimer’s Association says hearing the approval was incredible.
“Celebratory, excited, hopeful, and a little bit of a victory,” said Branham.
After nearly 20 years of nearly no progress being made on medications for Alzheimer’s Disease, the FDA approved a new drug called Aduhelm on Monday.
“We’re actually a site for the studies on which the FDA based its approval, so we’ve been working with this drug and patients on it for five or six years now.”READ MORE: CW69 Sports Interview: Shawn Elliott
Dr. Smith says the USF Florida Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Center and Research Institute held trials for the new drug, and she was able to watch how it impacted patients.
“Patients with the disease are kind of stable kind of cruise along. Others are getting worse but they are getting worse more slowly than they would if they weren’t taking it,” said Dr. Smith.
Dr. Smith says the drug, which is given to patients through an IV once a month, isn’t for people with severe Alzheimer’s Disease but rather people in the early stages.
“These are people who have memory issues but not really affecting their day to day function and also people with mild dementia, so people who maybe have trouble balancing their checkbook,” said Dr. Smith.
Aduhelm attacks clumps a protein called amyloid that in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. Despite conflicting beliefs over whether or not Aduhelm works, the FDA said in a statement “Although the Aduhelm data are complicated with respect to its clinical benefits, FDA has determined that there is substantial evidence that Aduhelm reduces amyloid beta plaques in the brain and that the reduction in these plaques is reasonably likely to predict important benefits to patients,”
Branham says she knows several people who were part of the trials.
“They thought it was successful and they felt that it had given them years of more time, more memories and more quality time with loved ones.”MORE NEWS: CW69 Sports Interview: Jack Bauerle
Right now Aduhelm is listed as $56,000 dollars per year, and Branham says the Alzheimer’s Association is now trying to get insurances to cover that price tag for people who need it most.