A monoclonal antibody-based therapeutic was recently approved for Alzheimer’s disease called Aducanumab (Aduhelm). Approval of the drug was controversial, as it is expensive and its long-term effect on the disease is unclear. Here reviewed are published studies and argue that Aducanumab is indeed a promising therapeutic. Our approach starts with understanding the pathology underlying Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a progressive, degenerative disease including on a structural level plaques of amyloid-beta protein and tangles of tau protein, associated with neuronal death. Aducanumab is an immunotherapeutic drug that is indicated for moderately severe cases of Alzheimer’s. Aducanumab is an antibody that binds the plaques and marks them for destruction by t-cells. As such, amyloid plaques that are both soluble and insoluble can be cleared. Indeed, clinical trials show that drugs reduced plaques regardless of the size. Whether this will result in improvement in Alzheimer’s symptoms is unclear, and further studies should clarify this. Regardless, Aducanumab is the first medication to successfully remove amyloid-beta plaques, a hallmark of the disease. Its progress should be followed with great interest.
Research Paper by Sanjana Ananthula. Grade 12, Rhode Island