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Scientists Are Looking for Volunteers to Test a New Alzheimer's Drug

Scientists are getting closer to developing a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease, and they’re currently seeking volunteers to help.

The Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is looking for people with Alzheimer’s disease to enroll in a clinical trial for the drug troriluzole. The study, called T2 Protect AD, is now open at 30 sites across the United States and will be operating out of 40 sites by mid-March.

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To be eligible, study participants must be:

  • Women and men aged 50-85 with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and otherwise in good health
  • On stable doses of donepezil (Aricept) or rivastigmine (Exelon) or galantamine (Razadyne) for at least three months with or without memantine (Namenda)
  • Living in the community, not in a residential nursing home
  • Having a study partner who has regular contact with the trial participant (about 10 hours per week) and can accompany the participant to the clinic visits
  • Able to participate in the T2 study for 48 weeks

The Alzheimer’s drugs currently on the market can help treat some of the symptoms, but don’t address the root cause of the disease or delay its progression.

Troriluzole works by protecting the brain from excessive amounts of the neurotransmitter glutamate, which can cause dysfunction and death of nerve cells. The researchers’ goal is to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by 40 percent.

Howard Feldman, director of the ADCS, told KPBS he and other researchers will be looking for benefits to cognitive function, thinking and memory.

“If it works, we’re going to see it, and one year should be ample time with which to identify benefits,” he said.

Interested participants will go through a screening process including memory and thinking tests and a physical exam. The selected participants will go to the clinic nine times over 48 weeks. Half will receive the drug and half will receive a placebo.

Clinic locations include universities and medical centers such as the University of Iowa, Northwestern University, Columbia University, the University of Miami, UCSD, Oregon Health and Science University and others. For a complete list of locations and contact information, visit the T2 Protect AD study website.

Getty photo by Antiv3D

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