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Alzheimer’s treatments spur hopes and challenges across Canada


For the first time, disease-modifying treatments for Alzheimer's disease are on the horizon.

Lecanemab, which has been FDA-approved, and donanemab are under review by Health Canada, with a decision expected to be made some time this year. Both drugs target amyloid plaques; a buildup of beta amyloid protein in the brain that is linked to Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Andrew Frank, neurologist and researcher with the Bruyère Memory Program, talks about how it has been a long wait for potential therapies with The Globe and Mail.

As these drugs have shown the most promise in patients who are in the early stages of Alzheimer's, early detection and diagnosis have been flagged as a core need for the health care system if the drugs are adopted.

Dementia care experts are looking ahead to the challenges associated with a potential increased demand on scans and neurologists, while assessing the potential of blood tests as a more accessible assessment option.

Both the drugs and the related diagnostic and assessment needs that surround these potential treatments have furthered the discussion around public awareness and understanding of Alzheimer’s, as well as ongoing recommendations for health care providers and the system at large.