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SAN FRANCISCO — Scientific meetings about Alzheimer’s disease can be funereal affairs, with researchers from around the world gathering in hopes that the latest in a long line of negative clinical trials might light the path to a long-awaited success.

This year was different. Nearly 2,000 people showed up to the Clinical Trials in Alzheimer’s Disease meeting, a conference record, to hear about lecanemab, a drug from Eisai and Biogen that appears to have broken the decades-long cycle of disappointment.


A packed audience repeatedly burst into applause during Eisai’s lecanemab presentation on Tuesday — with onlookers clapping even when they learned that the results had been concurrently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Supplemental figures don’t usually don’t draw cheers, but the warm reception underscored how overjoyed researchers were to have any kind of success against Alzheimer’s, even a modest one.

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