Historic breakthrough announced by Alzheimer’s researchers


Dr Emer MacSweeney of Re:Cognition Health on a major development in the fight against Alzheimer’s and the role played by her clinic in the search for new medications

This is an exciting time for research into Alzheimer’s. As our understanding of the disease pathology increases, the development of new-generation medications, designed to treat the disease and not just its symptoms, is becoming a reality.

Indeed, the result reported for lecanemab, a new medication, at the international Clinical Trials Alzheimer’s Disease (CTAD) conference in November 2022 has been hailed as an “historic moment” by researchers. The clinical trial for lecanemab was undertaken at specialist centres across the world, including Re:Cognition Health’s centre in the Harley Street Medical Area.

Lecanumab is a monoclonal antibody against beta-amyloid protein. This protein, which accumulates in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease, is understood to be ultimately toxic to certain brain cells. The gradual destruction of these brain cells results in short-term memory loss and related cognitive symptoms, which progress relentlessly in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, resulting in severe dementia. Lecanemab slowed the progression of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and mild dementia by 27% following 18 months of treatment, compared to a matched group of individuals who received a placebo.

Dr Emer MacSweeney of Re:Cognition Health

Dr Emer MacSweeney of Re:Cognition Health

Results also demonstrated that lecanemab had a beneficial effect on biomarkers for amyloid, tau, and other pathophysiology measures of Alzheimer’s. So lecanemab not only directly removed amyloid plaques but also had downstream effects on tau pathology, a marker of the disease.

Alzheimer’s is a complex disease and the search for effective biomarkers and possible treatments has been long, challenging and extremely expensive. The results for lecanemab herald the “end of the beginning” of this search and forge a pathway for the development of multiple new treatments.

There are currently an increasing number of new drugs in international clinical trials for different stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Re:Cognition Health is currently involved in trials for Alzheimer’s and other causes of dementia at its centres in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Guildford, Plymouth, Winchester and Washington DC. Clinical trials such as these are essential for advancing our understanding of medicine and improving the healthcare and quality of life for everyone affected by cognitive impairment. 

It is imperative that research into Alzheimer’s continues. We are proud to be offering patients the very best opportunities, with cutting-edge clinical trials right in the heart of the Harley Street Medical Area, as well as providing the very best cognitive solutions for patients of all ages through our private services.