Atlanta

Emory researchers call newly-approved Alzheimer’s drug major breakthrough

ATLANTA — A major breakthrough has been made in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

For the first time ever, the FDA granted full approval to a drug proven to slow the progression of the devastating condition.

Channel 2′s Michael Seiden was live on the campus of Emory University Friday morning.

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Researchers at Emory University played a significant role in the approval of the drug.

Infusion centers are gearing up for an anticipated surge in new patients.

“In certain areas, I anticipate we will receive probably at least 15 to 20% more patient referrals for this drug,” Sue Rottura of Vivo Infusion said.

The drug, called Leqembi, is administered through IV infusion once every two weeks.

Thursday’s full traditional FDA approval means the drug is now available for coverage by Medicare.

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Leqembi has been available under accelerated FDA approval since January, but at a cost of more than $26,000 a year before insurance, many patients couldn’t access or afford it.

“You had this treatment at your fingertips and suddenly you had Medicare saying, yeah, but you can’t quite get access to that at this point in time,” Joe Montminy, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s said.

A large trial funded by the drug’s makers found Leqembi slowed the progression of the disease by about 27%.

Leqembi targets a specific protein that forms plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

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