On June 07, 2021 U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Aduhelm (aducanumab) for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually, the ability to carry out simple tasks.
While the specific causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not fully known, it is characterized by changes in the brain—including amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary, or tau, tangles—that result in loss of neurons and their connections. These changes affect a person’s ability to remember and think.
Scientists hypothesized that removing amyloid plaques could improve the condition of Alzheimer’s patients.
Controversial drug, Aduhelm
According to the joint press release of the manufacturers of this Alzheimer’s drug, the newly FDA approved drug Aduhelm is targeting the amyloid beta plaques in the brain.
However, some scientists hypothesized amyloid beta protein is used to repair myelin, which is an insulating material of nerves to protect signals undisrupted. Therefore Aduhelm, which removes it, is heavily controversial.
Also this new drug Aduhelm have a hefty price tag.
The wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) of Aduhelm, which is an infusion once every four weeks, is $4,312 per infusion for a patient of 74 kg–the average weight of a U.S. patient with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild dementia. The yearly cost at the maintenance dose (10 mg/kg) would be $56,000.
On the other hand, THC, a cannabinoid of cannabis, which is obviously cheaper, is proved to be a potential therapeutic treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease through multiple functions and pathways to regulate the amyloid beta plaques in the brain.
Cao C, Li Y, Liu H, Bai G, Mayl J, Lin X, Sutherland K, Nabar N, Cai J. The potential therapeutic effects of THC on Alzheimer’s disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;42(3):973-84. doi: 10.3233/JAD-140093. PMID: 25024327.
Therefore, I wish FDA, and the US government acknowledge the therapeutic benefits of cannabis and legalize cannabis in a federal level as soon as possible.
In fact, recent researches are showing that cannabinoids are capable to disable SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as its variants, which is the pathogen of COVID-19, so legalization of cannabis is needed more than ever.