News Release

Brigham experts provide insights on how Alzheimer’s drug lecanemab slows cognitive decline

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Brigham and Women's Hospital

WHO: Dennis Selkoe, MD, co-director of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and corresponding author of the paper in Neuron. Andrew Stern, MD, PhD, of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at BWH and first author of the paper in Neuron

WHAT: In a report published in Neuron, a team led by investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital reveals the structure of the therapeutic target of lecanemab, a drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in January 2023 for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. While the drug had been thought to selectively target soluble amyloid-beta protofibrils, the structure of these targets in the human brain had not been known. In their study, researchers characterized amyloid-beta fibrils from the human brain and found unexpected results, which help clarify how lecanemab has its protective effects with implications for future drug design.

“For the first time, we describe the structure of a special type of amyloid beta plaque protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease progression, revealing the identity of the enemy,” said Selkoe. “These findings are extremely timely as we make key strides in developing treatments that can reduce cognitive decline.”

“Defining how these tiny, diffusible fibrils exert toxicity will not only inform our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease but also help us design better drugs against it,” said Stern.

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