ANKARA – The experimental drug lecanemab has the "potential" to serve as treatment at early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, according to new trial results.

The drug’s developers, Biogen from the US and Eisai from Japan, published results of the study on Tuesday showing the drug as one of the first experimental drugs that slows the progression of cognitive decline.

In Phase 2 trials, lecanemab was found to slow the disease’s progression by 27 percent over the space of 18 months, six months longer than the suggested period.

The trial was done at 235 sites in North America, Europe, and Asia and involved 1,795 adults with mild cognitive impairment due to early Alzheimer’s disease or mild Alzheimer’s disease-related dementia.

Half of the participants received the drug while other half got a placebo.

"These peer-reviewed, published results show lecanemab will provide patients more time to participate in daily life and live independently. It could mean many months more of recognizing their spouse, children and grandchildren," the US-based Alzheimer's Association said Tuesday in a statement.

"Treatments that deliver tangible benefits to those living with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to Alzheimer’s and early Alzheimer’s dementia are as valuable as treatments that extend the lives of those with other terminal diseases," the group added.

Currently, more than 55 million people live with dementia worldwide, and this number is estimated to reach 78 million by 2030 and 139 million by 2050, according to the World Health Organization. (Anadolu)