Healthbeat: 63-year-old NEPA man claims experimental Alzheimer’s drug changed his life

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PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — It’s been 18 years since a new drug has been approved to treat Alzheimer’s disease, but one such medication is moving toward an FDA decision.

That drug is part of an ongoing clinical trial.

An FDA advisory panel says, so far, there’s not enough wide-scale evidence it is effective for the general population. In the trial taking place now, all patients are getting aducanumab. There is no placebo. The FDA is expected to decide the drug’s fate in June.

63-year-old Kevin Bonham is on a mission to reclaim his ability to remember things. He’s a participant in clinical trials of Biogen’s experimental drug Aducanumab at NEPA Memory & Alzheimer’s Center.

“How have you been feeling since we started the IV infusions again?” said Dr. Mario Cornacchione, research director at NEPA Memory & Alzheimer’s Center.

“All the fog has been lifted. That is gone,” Bonham says.

The Bear Creek Village man was diagnosed in 2016 with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. His memory struggles were worsening, he says, until he began receiving Aducanumab the following year. He’s been taking part in yet another trial of the drug this past January to treat his condition.

“Every week it just gets better and better and less and less confusion and less and less memory loss. And it gets to the point where I’m starting to feel like almost completely normal which is amazing,” said Bonham.

“He was demonstrating improvement in like executive functioning like planning a task and following through, like concentration, just more focused, more interactive,” Kim Bonham, Kevin’s wife, said.

Aducanumab is intended to remove plaque from brain cells and prevent those cells from dying and the cognitive impairment that follows by slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

“If Kevin is any indication of how this would work in the general population of patients with mild cognitive impairment in early Alzheimer’s disease, we can all be quite hopeful,” said Dr. Mario Cornacchione.

When we first met the Bonhams in August 2020, they withheld their identity. But now they’re publicly sharing their opinions about aducanumab as a solution for millions of Americans living with Alzheimer’s.

“It’s a disease that has never had any kind of cure for it and now there’s hope,” said Mr. Bonham.

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