Donanemab Shows Greater Ability to Clear Amyloid Plaque Than Aducanumab


Amyloid plaques, composed of abnormally folded amyloid beta proteins, are a hallmark feature of Alzheimer’s disease. These plaques contribute to the neurodegeneration and cognitive decline seen in patients with the disease. Over the years, researchers have been diligently working on developing treatments that can effectively clear amyloid plaque. One of the recent breakthroughs in this area is the development of two investigational drugs, donanemab and aducanumab. In this blog post, we will explore the differences in efficacy between these drugs in clearing amyloid plaque and their potential implications for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Key Points:

  1. Understanding Amyloid Plaque in Alzheimer’s disease:
    In Alzheimer’s disease, the accumulation of amyloid plaques disrupts the normal functioning of brain cells, leading to cognitive decline and memory loss. The presence of these plaques is one of the key pathological features of the disease and has been a primary target in therapeutic development for Alzheimer’s.
  2. Aducanumab: Early Controversial Results:
    Aducanumab, an investigational monoclonal antibody developed by Biogen, showed promising results in its early-stage clinical trials for clearing amyloid plaque. However, late-stage trials yielded mixed results, and the drug faced scrutiny due to uncertainties regarding its effectiveness. Despite this, the FDA granted accelerated approval for aducanumab in 2021, making it the first drug approved for Alzheimer’s disease in almost two decades.
  3. Donanemab: Greater Ability to Clear Amyloid Plaque:
    Another investigational drug, donanemab, has shown even more remarkable results in clearing amyloid plaque. Developed by Eli Lilly and Company, donanemab is a monoclonal antibody that selectively targets a specific form of amyloid beta. Early results from a Phase 2 clinical trial demonstrated significant reduction in amyloid plaque levels, with some patients showing complete clearance. These findings have generated considerable excitement and anticipation within the scientific community.
  4. Implications for Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment:
    The greater ability of donanemab to clear amyloid plaque compared to aducanumab raises the possibility of a more effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. By reducing amyloid plaque burden, these drugs aim to slow the progression of the disease and potentially improve cognitive function in patients. However, it is important to note that while amyloid plaque clearance is an important step, addressing other aspects of Alzheimer’s pathology, such as tau tangles and neuroinflammation, may also be necessary for comprehensive treatment strategies.
  5. The Road Ahead:
    Further research and clinical trials are needed to fully understand the safety, efficacy, and long-term effects of donanemab and aducanumab. Ongoing investigations will also shed light on whether amyloid plaque clearance translates into meaningful clinical benefits for patients, including cognitive improvement and disease modification. Additionally, as an extended focus on Alzheimer’s disease research continues, new therapeutic approaches and combination therapies may emerge, further enhancing the potential for effective treatment options.


The development of drugs like donanemab and aducanumab marks significant progress in the quest to tackle Alzheimer’s disease by targeting amyloid plaque. While aducanumab garnered attention with its recent FDA approval, donanemab’s greater ability to clear amyloid plaque presents a potentially more promising treatment avenue. These advancements are encouraging for patients, caregivers, and researchers alike, as they offer hope for improved outcomes and interventions for Alzheimer’s disease. As the field of Alzheimer’s research continues to evolve, the focus on multiple targets and combination therapies may ultimately lead to more effective treatments and a brighter future for those affected by this debilitating disease.