Harborview Medical Center administers groundbreaking new Alzheimer’s treatment to patient

The University of Washington (UW) Medicine’s Memory and Brain Wellness Center made history by providing the new Alzheimer’s drug, lecanemab, to the first patient on Dec. 1. This groundbreaking treatment was administered to a Mount Vernon man, marking a significant milestone in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Thomas Grabowski, a distinguished professor of radiology and neurology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, expressed his satisfaction in offering the IV infusion treatment at Harborview Medical Center to eligible patients. He lauded the center for being among the first West Coast hospitals to provide this innovative therapy.

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Doug Davidson, the recipient of lecanemab, became the pioneer in receiving a drug that has displayed promising results in reducing cognitive decline among individuals with early Alzheimer’s disease at UW Medicine.

In a groundbreaking development, lecanemab received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Summer 2023, making it the first FDA-approved drug known to alter the trajectory of Alzheimer’s, as indicated by the University of Washington.

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According to Dr. Michael Rosenbloom, an esteemed associate professor of neurology at the UW School of Medicine and the director of clinical trials at the Memory and Brain Wellness Center, the outcomes of lecanemab’s administration were relatively modest, contributing to a 27% slowdown in cognitive decline and functional decline over an 18-month period. Nevertheless, this marks a promising step forward in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

UW has conveyed that lecanemab is authorized for use by patients who exhibit amyloid plaques and mild cognitive impairment or very mild Alzheimer’s dementia.

Eligible individuals who are contemplating lecanemab should be aware that while the benefits are modest, they may be challenging to discern, and there are also associated risks to consider.

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