The drug donanemab has shown great potential for treating Alzheimer’s disease. In a global trial, it successfully slowed cognitive decline in people with early-stage Alzheimer’s by targeting and clearing disease-associated protein buildup in the brain. While it’s not a cure, the published results have generated optimism among medical professionals and charities. The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently assessing donanemab for potential use in the National Health Service (NHS). The drug has been found to slow disease progression by around one-third, allowing patients to maintain their daily activities and quality of life. However, donanemab does come with risks, such as brain swelling, which was observed as a common side effect during trials. Nonetheless, its positive impact on patients’ lives represents a significant milestone in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Donanemab and similar drugs are just the beginning of a new wave of potential Alzheimer’s treatments. Efforts are underway to ensure a timely diagnosis, as only a small percentage of patients currently receive the necessary investigations to be eligible for these treatments. The NHS also needs to establish the infrastructure and capacity to administer the regular infusions and monitoring required for these emerging therapies. Nevertheless, the results of the donanemab trial bring hope for the millions of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and highlight the progress being made in combating this devastating condition.