Alzheimer's Society comment on disappointing results for gantenerumab drug at clinical trial

Alzheimer's Society, study participant Eric Deeson and Sir Prof John Hardy comment on the disappointing clinical trial results for Alzheimer's drug gantenerumab.

Dr Richard Oakley, Associate Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

After yesterday’s excitement about lecanemab, it’s disappointing that in gantenerumab we don’t have a second potential ‘breakthrough’ drug in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Last night we heard confirmation that gantenerumab did not slow cognitive decline or clear as much amyloid protein as expected in people with early-stage Alzheimer’s

Although the two drugs shared similarities we look forward to seeing further detailed data to shed light on why lecanemab and gantenerumab have shown such different results.

But while these trial results were not positive, it’s important to note this isn’t a failed study. Well-conducted trials like this one for gantenerumab, even if they don’t produce the intended results, give us much to learn and build on.

Since Alzheimer’s Society research over thirty years ago first highlighted the importance of amyloid in Alzheimer’s disease, many years of collaboration, passion and determination across the research community have hugely deepened our understanding of the condition.

And there’s still hope - there are currently 117 other drugs being tested to slow down Alzheimer’s, and we want everyone diagnosed with dementia to be encouraged to participate in research through schemes like Join Dementia Research, to support the mission to one day find a life-changing drug. Together, we will beat dementia.

Sir Professor John Hardy, Chair of Molecular Biology of Neurological Disease, UCL, and Alzheimer’s Society funded researcher, said:

Although it wasn’t good news about gantenerumab yesterday, there is still hope for drugs targeting amyloid, given that lecanemab was shown to be effective in slowing cognitive decline in early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

We’ve come a long way since our research supported by Alzheimer’s Society in 1989 showing that amyloid plays a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, and we’ve been continuously building on this knowledge over the years.

Every time a clinical trial fails, there are always learnings to be taken away for the next study. I feel deeply optimistic about the future of dementia research and so inspired by the progress we’ve made so far.  I believe we’re getting closer to having life-changing drugs available in the UK.
Eric Deeson, Alzheimer’s Society research network volunteer who lives with Alzheimer’s disease and who took part in the gantenerumab clinical trial, said:

Even though gantenerumab results were negative, participating in the trial, which involved weekly injections and regular scans, was such a valuable experience. I really enjoy taking part in research and have been a participant for about twenty years!

People with dementia are rarely invited to take part in research, but participation can keep people going after being diagnosed. It’s so important for researchers to listen to the views of people affected by dementia to make it as simple as possible for everyone with dementia to take part.

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