Hopes and concerns over a new Alzheimer's drug - CBS News
Nov 28, 2021 2 mins, 6 secs

Correspondent Susan Spencer asked, "You were good at this job?".

Daniel Gibbs, a neurologist in Portland, Oregon for nearly 25 years, told Spencer, "Alzheimer's Disease is the most common form of dementia?

Spencer asked, "As a physician, what was the most difficult aspect of treating Alzheimer's patients?".

"I just felt so hopeless," Gibbs replied, "and it was hard for me to give any hope to the patients.

"The cause of Alzheimer's Disease, broadly speaking, is really a challenge still today," said Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., chief science officer at the Alzheimer's Association in Chicago … a challenge that so far has evaded answers.

One approach goes after the abnormal deposit of protein found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

That's the thinking behind Aduhelm, the first new FDA-approved Alzheimer's drug in almost two decades.

When asked why new medications for Alzheimer's are so few and far between, Gibbs replied, "Well, it's not for want of trying.

When asked if he would take the drug if offered, Joe Montminy said, "If I was eligible and if I had the insurance coverage, I would absolutely take the drug.

And for now, insurance coverage is no guarantee, though drug maker Biogen says it does offer "programs to help patients … assess eligibility for financial assistance ...".

But unfortunately, the drug doesn't seem to have any clear effect on the progression of Alzheimer's Disease.".

Spencer asked, "How can you say definitively that it doesn't work any more than the FDA could say definitively that it does?"

"You can't say definitively that it doesn't work; you can't say definitely that it does work, either," said Kesselheim

"Reasonably likely" sounds pretty good to patients like Joe Montminy: "It's a major, major breakthrough that has taken us from drugs that only deal with the symptoms, to a drug that now can deal with one of the root causes of the disease."

"Possibly?" said Spencer

Spencer asked, Gibbs, "Describe for me the pressure from patients and their families to find a cure."

"The experience that we have with Alzheimer's Disease, most of us, is when we, a relative or an acquaintance is in the nursing home and dwindling away, doesn't recognize anybody, and it's just, you know, a terribly frightening thing to think, 'That's my future.' And it is devastating."

He no longer practices medicine, he said, because he has Alzheimer's

"I mean, I know what to expect," Gibbs replied, "but I also know what I need to do to hold off the bad stuff at the end as long as possible."

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