UPSC Current Affairs

Lecanemab : A new Alzheimer’s drug offers hope

Alzheimer's - Ekam IAS

Lecanemab : A new Alzheimer’s drug offers hope

  • Alzheimer’s disease, a cognitive disorder, has been one of the most difficult challenges for healthcare systems globally. It was first identified in 1906.
  • It is a neurodegenerative and progressive disease that slowly destroys memory and other functions related to memory. It happens when plagues containing amyloid-beta peptides continue to accumulate in the brain.
  • Aducanumab (brand name Aduhelm) is the only disease-modifying medication currently approved to treat Alzheimer’s.
  • This medication is a human antibody, or immunotherapy, that targets the protein beta-amyloid and helps to reduce amyloid plaques, which are brain lesions associated with Alzheimer’s.
  • Another drug Tacrine, the first marketed drug for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), reversibly inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE).
  • AChE is an enzyme involved in the rapid breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, thus promoting AD.
  • However, due to hepatotoxicity (damage to liver), Tacrine has been withdrawn from market. Still, Tacrine is being used as a potential starting point to design highly efficient anti-AD drug without hepatotoxicity.
  • The new drug for Alzheimer’s, Lecanemab was developed by pharma companies Biogen and Eisai.
  • Lecanemab is an antibody that cleans protein deposits on brain cells, believed by a section of scientists to cause cognitive impairments (person has trouble remembering, learning new things etc.)
  • According to the pharma companies Biogen and Eisai, the drug slowed down the rate of memory and thinking decline in early-stage Alzheimer’s patients by 27 per cent.
  • The Alzheimer’s Disease International Federation has predicted the number of AD patients to be 131.5 million by 2050.
  • Dementia, including Alzheimer’s, affects 1 in 27 Indians above 60 years.
UPSC Prelims Model Question

Q. Lecanemab, recently seen in news, is related to which of the following?

(a) New drug for Alzheimer’s Disease

(b) Antibody against leprosy

(c) Vaccine for monkeypox

(d) New drug for Tuberculosis

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