A newly approved Alzheimer’s drug has local origins, with research into its effectiveness having taken place in North Texas.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully authorized Leqembi on July 6.

Developed by Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai and U.S.-based Biogen, Leqembi targets beta-amyloid, a brain protein scientists believe triggers Alzheimer’s disease. According to the results seen in its clinical trials, the drug shows promise in treating Alzheimer’s, which affects an estimated 6.7 million adults over 65 in the United States.

A phase 3 study involving 1,795 Alzheimer’s patients logged a 27% reduction in the progression of the disease over 18 months, according to NBC News.

One of the participants in the trial was Gail Youngdale, an 80-year-old resident of McKinney.

Sitting down recently with CBS News Texas, Youngdale recounted how she was devastated to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the same illness that killed her mother.

“You have mild cognitive impairment,” Youngdale remembered the doctor saying. “Well, I don’t like that … what’s the next step? And she said, ‘Alzheimer’s.’ I didn’t like that.”

Not one to accept her fate lying down, Youngdale turned to prayer and found Kerwin Medical Center in Dallas, where she was introduced to the Leqembi clinical trial.

Dr. Diana Kerwin, the founder of Kerwin Medical Center and a leading researcher in Alzheimer’s treatment, has been involved in the study for the past four years.

“While Leqembi may not be the end-all, be-all drug, it is a big breakthrough,” Kerwin told CBS News Texas. “Every day is going to be more and more hopeful for our patients.”

Slowing down the disease’s progression significantly enhances patients’ lives, offering them an improved quality of life for an extended period. Despite potential side effects like brain swelling and bleeding, Youngdale remains optimistic.

“It’s working. It’s working. Daily, I’m more calm and my brain is more clear,” she told CBS News Texas.

Youngdale is still enjoying her life at a McKinney retirement community, even rekindling her love for hobbies that Alzheimer’s had previously claimed.

While scientists do not know precisely what causes many diseases affecting cognitive functions as a person ages, lifestyle factors — such as being obese and eating highly processed foods — have allegedly been shown to increase one’s likelihood of developing them, as previously covered by The Dallas Express.