‘It gives them time’: Newly-approved Alzheimer’s drug brings hope to those battling the deadly disease

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first Alzheimer’s drug in nearly two decades.

According to the FDA, drugmaker Biogen’s latest medical breakthrough will target the progression of the deadly disease.

It’s news people in the early stages of the disease or those who have a loved one with Alzheimer’s have been waiting years for.

“My husband and I will be 63 years married this year, and I have a new husband now,” said Ruth Harris.

Harris never misses a chance to visit the friendly faces at Golden Moments Care Home and kiss her husband, Alexander, hello.

Alexander Harris is now in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. 

“When he came here, he was speaking and walking, but the decline in the mobility and then the speech, that kind of all went away at the same time,” Ruth Harris explained.

Alexander Harris is one of 5.8 million Americans diagnosed with the incurable disease.

Claire Day, with the Northern California and Northern Nevada Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, said current treatments only focus on targeting the symptoms of dementia, but Aducanumab claims to take it one step further. 

“Aducanumab is an anti-amyloid, antibody therapy, and so beta-amyloid is that protein that builds up around the spaces in between our nerve cells. So that’s what this drug is designed to do,” Day explained.

The drug is given as an infusion every four weeks.

“This is the first of its kind that’s actually slowing down that progression of the disease, which is invaluable to people living with dementia. It gives them time,” Day continued.

But time has run out for Ruth and Alexander Harris. 

While the drug cannot help people like Alexander Harris, his wife said she’s happy to hear that others may get a second chance at life. 

“When I think of the ones that it can help, that is what excites me,” she said.

The FDA says Biogen has to conduct a follow-up study to confirm the drug’s benefits for patients, and there no specific time frame as to when it will roll out.

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