“Aducanumab” approved by USFDA for “Alzheimer’s disease”

What is the News?

“Aducanumab”, a new drug for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

How does Aducanumab drug work?
  • Aducanumab is a monoclonal antibody drug that aims at altering the course of Alzheimer disease by slowing the deterioration of brain function.
    • Monoclonal Antibodies are man-made proteins that act like human antibodies in the immune system. They are made by cloning a unique white blood cell.
  • The drug does this by reducing the presence of amyloid-beta, a protein that forms plaques in the brain.
  • Significance: Since there is no treatment so far, the drug that can slow down Alzheimer’s disease holds much promise and is a ray of hope.
  • Concerns:
    • High Cost: The company has said that the average wholesale cost of the drug would be $56,000 (over Rs 40 lakh) per year.
    • Ineffective Studies: The studies on the drug didn’t clearly show that people were likely to have fewer symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease if they were taking the drug. Hence, not all experts agreed that Aducanumab deserved approval.
About Alzheimer’s Disease:
  • Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurologic disorder that causes the brain to shrink (atrophy) and brain cells to die.
  • The disease is the most common cause of dementia — a continuous decline in thinking, behavioural and social skills that affect a person’s ability to function independently.
  • Caused by: Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells.
    • One of the proteins involved is called amyloid, deposits of which form plaques around brain cells.
    • The other protein is called tau, deposits of which form tangles within brain cells.
  • Vulnerability: Alzheimer disease most commonly affects older adults, but it can also affect people in their 30s or 40s.
  • Cases:
    • According to WHO estimates for 2017, dementia affects approximately 50 million people worldwide, a number that is projected to grow to 82 million by 2030.
    • In India, it is estimated that 5.3 million people (1 in 27) above the age of 60 have dementia in 2020. This is projected to rise to 7.6 million by 2030.

 Source: Indian Express

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