A drug that could change the lives of Alzheimer's patients has been described as "positive news" by a specialist.

A clinical trial of a new drug called Donanemab was earlier this month found to slow the decline of 35.1% of people who have early onset Alzheimer’s, as researchers have branded the find as a breakthrough moment.

The TRAILBLAZER ALZ-2 trial examined over 1,800 people with the condition, with 50% of them being given a placebo drug.

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Results then found that donanemab was successful in clearing a protein called amyloid that builds up in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s.

 To discuss this news, The Northern Echo spoke to Barchester, an operator that runs care homes in the North East including North Park Care Home in Darlington and asked them about the breakthrough and what it could mean for the future of Alzheimer’s healthcare.

National Lead Dementia Nurse Specialist for Barchester Healthcare, Claire Peart, called the drug “positive news”.

She said: “It is early days but this is very positive news.  We don’t know too much about this new drug yet and we are still quite some time away from Donanemab coming to market but if it is licensed and becomes available it could be a major breakthrough for people at the early stages of diagnosis.

“Early diagnostic services are key and we very much hope that this drug gives us the opportunity to fight dementia at an early stage.”

Whilst the drug is not currently available on the NHS, work is ongoing by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to appraise the drug after it is approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Until then, Barchester homes across the region are working with families to find the best way to care for those living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

Claire said: “The families of residents living with dementia are very much involved with their care, they are heavily consulted when setting up each resident’s individual care and support plans and at every care plan review, they are consulted each time a care or support plan needs amending. 

“We have friends and family meetings where loved ones can get together to forge friendships and share experiences, in addition many of our homes such as Barchester’s North Park Care Home in Darlington have regular dementia café sessions.

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“Families and friends can socialise both with their loved ones and other families going through the same experiences over a cuppa and a slice of cake.”

The breakthrough, that has been found to slow the progression of the disease, has also been received well by research and innovation leaders.

Dr Richard Oakley, associate director of research and innovation at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “This is truly a turning point in the fight against Alzheimer’s and science is proving that it is possible to slow down the disease.”