Drug study will try to reverse Alzheimer’s
With 5.7 million Americans already living with Alzheimer’s disease, a number that is expected to more than double in 30 years, researchers are racing to find the culprits that lead to the memory loss and confusion Alzheimer’s disease can cause.
One suspect is a type of protein in the brain called beta-amyloid. Researchers believe fragments of this protein can accumulate and stick together, disrupting communications between brain cells.
A new study called Trailblazer-Alz targets beta-amyloid with two investigational drugs — one aimed at preventing beta-amyloid from forming, and the other to remove it from the brain. This is the first clinical trial that examines if these two drugs together can help people with Alzheimer’s.
“What we’re thinking is that the cure for Alzheimer’s disease will likely be a cocktail of drugs, as HIV is treated,” said Dr. James Bicksel, a neurologist with Re: Cognition Health in Fairfax, Va.
Finding a way to stop the disease process with drugs is the most important way to fight Alzheimer’s, Bicksel said.
“I see people doing crosswords, doing Sudoku. None of that works. It’s only through clinical trials that we will be able to cure this,” he said.
Re:Cognition Health is one of 70 facilities in the U.S. and Canada participating in the Trailblazer-Alz study.
Who can participate?
To take part in the study, patients must be age 60 to 85, with Alzheimer’s disease or have had memory loss for six months or more that has become gradually worse over time. They must also have a family member or close friend who is with the patient for at least 10 hours per week and can attend study appointments.
The study will last for up to two years and five months, and will involve up to 26 study appointments.
During the study, patients will be randomly divided into three groups. One will receive both drugs, the second group will receive just one of the drugs, and the third will receive a placebo, a similarly administered drug with no active ingredient. Neither the patients nor the doctors will know who is in which group of the study.
Participants will go through a screening process during which their eligibility to participate will be determined. They will receive all study-related care from a research doctor at no cost, and may be compensated for time and travel expenses.
For additional information, or to volunteer, call (703) 520-9703 or visit www.recognition.health.