CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The FDA advisory committee has approved a new drug that could greatly help in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, a big step toward earning full approval.

The panel of independent FDA advisers has agreed that donanemab is safe and effective. The drug is a monoclonal antibody designed to slow the progression of the early stages of Alzheimer's. If approved by the FDA, donanemab would be the second drug on the market to slow the progression of the disease.

Jeanne Snyder, community executive of the Alzheimer’s Association in central and western Virginia, says the drug is already showing promising results.

“It's about making sure patients have the ability to make informed decisions with their healthcare professionals and their family members. And the benefit is that it extends that independence a lot longer. With this particular drug, there was a significant change. I think it was 60% saw a slow in the decline of the disease at the earlier stages when it was caught,” she said.