DONANEMAB (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     12th June 2024        
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Context: After much debate, a committee of independent advisers recently voted unanimously that the benefits of the new Alzheimer’s drug, Donanemab, outweigh its risks.


  • About: It is a monoclonal antibody that targets amyloid beta protein plaques in the brain, one of the defining features of Alzheimer’s disease that can be seen on imaging.
  • Mechanism of Action: Donanemab works by helping the body remove amyloid plaque buildups in the brain that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Harmful Deposits: These plaques are harmful deposits that can form in the brain as people age.

oRemoving the plaque seems to slow down the brain changes that seem to happen with Alzheimer’s.

  • Immune System Activation: As the drug enters the brain, it binds to the amyloid plaques, and its presence catches the attention of the immune system, which facilitates plaque removal.
  • Prevention: There is no cure and there is still no drug to prevent the development of Alzheimer’s, but donanemab and Leqembi, another drug that is already on the market, show promise.

Alzheimer Disease

  • About: It is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.
  • Occur: Between a person’s 30s and mid-60s (mostly) and is very rare.
  • Impact Areas: The brain is responsible for cognition, memory, and language.

oIt can significantly hinder an individual's capacity to perform routine daily tasks.

  • Symptoms: Memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behaviour.
  • Cure: So far, there has been no concrete cure, but some treatments are done to reduce its effectiveness.
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