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Alzheimer’s Treatment in Delaware Brings Hope and Controversy

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Adobe Stock | Gina Sanders

The Delaware Alzheimer’s Association criticizes a plan under which Medicare & Medicaid would only partially cover costs of a new treatment.

For the estimated 19,000 Alzheimer’s patients who live in Delaware, and for their families and caregivers, word of potential new therapies and treatments garners immediate interest—and sometimes controversy.

The latest concerns a new treatment called Aduhelm (aducanumab), which involves the use of monoclonal antibodies that target amyloid (abnormal proteins produced by the body) beta plaques. The controversy centers on whether and how the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) should pay for its use. Under the proposed rules, Medicare would cover treatment costs, but only for patients who are enrolled in clinical trials.

Alzheimer's treatment

Adobe Stock | Gina Sanders

That planned limited coverage has drawn criticism from the national office and the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, an advocacy organization for Alzheimer’s patients.

“The proposed CMS coverage decision is so restrictive it can hardly be considered coverage and has a major impact on those impacted by Alzheimer’s disease,” says Katie Macklin, senior director for advocacy at the association’s Delaware Valley Chapter. “It effectively denies access to all current and future FDA-approved treatments targeting amyloid in those living with Alzheimer’s disease—regardless of clinical trial results and what the FDA recommends.”

Currently, Aduhelm is the only FDA-approved monoclonal antibody targeting amyloid.

Macklin points out that the association also has a service that matches people living with Alzheimer’s and potential enrolment in any applicable clinical trial. Delawareans interested in clinical studies can learn more at trialmatch.alz.org.

The free, easy-to-use platform shows interested parties which studies might be a good fit for them or a family member. The platform allows searches for studies, sign-ups for study updates and the possibility of connecting with research teams.

Related: Delaware’s Top Nurses of 2022 Make a Lasting Impact

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