Mike Colley started having problems with memory and decision making a couple of years ago.
He is one of a few dozen UK patients taking part in the global trial and has received a monthly infusion of donanemab for the past two years.
The 80-year-old, from Kent, said he feels “incredibly lucky” to be taking the immunotherapy medicine.
Visiting a London clinic for treatment, he told the BBC: “I seem to be getting more confident every day and I’m sure this is going to succeed and they’re going to get all this crap out of my brain.”
Mike Colley started having problems with memory and decision making a couple of years ago. In the photo with his son Mark
The treatment will not cure his Alzheimer’s, but his family suggested that his condition had stopped worsening.
His son, Mark, said it had been very difficult to watch him struggle at first.
He said: ‘Watching him struggle with information processing and problem solving was very difficult. But I think the decline is reaching a plateau now.
He added: ‘I never thought I would see my father so full of life again. Now we have hope and two years ago we didn’t. That is an incredible difference.
Results of a landmark trial revealed today that donanemab can delay the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 60 percent.
Experts hailed the breakthrough as the “turning point” in the fight against the cruel disease, describing it as a “defining moment” for dementia research.
It is the second treatment after lecanemab to offer hope to patients in what experts have hailed as “the Alzheimer’s decade,” which could one day be compared to other long-term conditions such as asthma or diabetes.
The scientists said it also ended the decades-long debate about whether the buildup of sticky plaques or amyloid is at least partly responsible for the degenerative disease.
The drug halted mental decline for more than a year in about half of the patients, according to findings presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Amsterdam this afternoon.
Colley surprised his family at his own 80th birthday party by singing Frank Sinatra’s My Way. She told BBC News: ‘That’s the confidence I have now. I would never have done that even 12 months ago.
Donanemab is given to Alzheimer’s patients through an intravenous infusion once a month. The monoclonal antibody, a man-made version of proteins made by the body to fight harmful substances, travels to the brain. Once inside the organ, donanemab binds to toxic clumps of amyloid plaque, a hallmark of memory-robbing disease. This causes immune cells, known as microglia, to kill them.
Manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company, the US pharmaceutical company announced that it had already sought regulatory approval from the FDA and expected to file its application in the UK within 6 months.
It means that patients could start receiving treatment with it in as little as 18 months.
The drug, which is given as a monthly infusion, was found to be most effective in those under 75 in the earliest stages of the disease.
The researchers examined nearly 1,800 people with early-stage Alzheimer’s with patients receiving donanemab or a placebo for 18 months.
Those in the earliest stage of the disease with mild cognitive impairment had the greatest benefit, with a 60 percent slowdown compared with placebo.
Among early Alzheimer’s patients whose brain scans showed low or medium levels of a protein called tau, the drug was found to slow clinical decline by 35 percent.
When results from people with different levels of this protein were combined, there was a 22.3% slowdown in disease progression, according to findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Dr Richard Oakley, Alzheimer’s Society associate director of research and innovation, said: “This is truly a turning point in the fight against Alzheimer’s and science is showing that slowing the disease is possible.”
“Treatments like donanemab are the first steps toward a future where Alzheimer’s disease could be considered a long-term condition along with diabetes or asthma; people may have to live with it, but they may have treatments that enable them to effectively control their symptoms and go on to live a full life.’ The drug works by using the immune system to remove amyloid, a buildup of toxic plaque in the brain that prevents brain cells from communicating.
In addition to delaying the worsening of symptoms by an average of 4.5 to 7.5 months, the drug also meant patients could carry on with their daily activities for longer, the researchers said.
Researchers today revealed that donanemab slowed cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s by 35 percent by clearing toxic plaques in the brain.
The experts said that patients will need to be made aware of the risks of the treatment so that they can choose whether or not to take these drugs. Stock: scan of a patient’s brain
However, some patients experienced some serious side effects, including brain swelling and bleeding, as well as three deaths related to taking the drug.
The experts said that patients will need to be made aware of the risks of the treatment so that they can choose whether or not to take these drugs.
Dr Susan Kohlhaas, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, said today’s announcement “marks another milestone” after decades of research.
She said: ‘We are entering a new era where Alzheimer’s disease could become treatable.
“As a potential first-generation treatment, the effects of donanemab are modest. But these results provide further confirmation that removing amyloid from the brain can change the course of Alzheimer’s disease and can help people affected by this devastating disease if they receive treatment at the right time.
“Compared to this, it is clear that donanemab has side effects, which for some can be very serious. Regulators will need to weigh these benefits and risks before granting a license for use.’