FDA-approved Alzheimer's drug gives hope to Tennessee families

Posted at 10:48 PM, Jun 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-07 23:48:00-04

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — For the more than 350,000 caregivers and those diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in Tennessee -- Monday was big news for the future of the disease.

It's not a cure, but on Monday the FDA approved the first-ever drug to slow the progression of Alzheimer's, rather than just addressing the symptoms of the disease.

"Today is huge, for Alzheimer's families and for awareness around the disease," said Amy LaGrant, who lost her father, John, to the disease late last year.

For years, Amy says John himself hoped that a treatment for Alzheimer's Disease would one day come.

"He said to me, 'Amy, I got treatment for my heart, I got a surgery and they gave me pills,' and I remember he pointed to his head, and said, 'Why can't I do that for this?'," LaGrant said.

The FDA-approved drug is not a cure for Alzheimer's, but it slows the disease's progression if it's started in the early stages of the disease.

It's the first drug of its kind that deals with the disease itself, and not just the underlying symptoms.

John and Amy have worked with groups like the Alzheimer's Association, trying to raise awareness of Alzheimer's and other dementia, and encouraging early diagnosis -- the kind this new drug can help the most with.

In fact, John was involved in clinical trials of similar drugs that helped pave the way for Monday's approval.

"I think he's smiling up there for today's announcement," LaGrant said.