UC Researchers Studying Investigational Drug for Alzheimer’s Patients

CINCINNATI—Up to 5.3 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a number that is expected to triple by 2050 due to the aging of the population.

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) are among those who have accepted the challenge of easing the burden of Alzheimer’s disease. They are conducting a research study to assess the effect of a new investigational drug on memory and activities of daily living in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.

“Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s dementia,” says Muhammad Aslam, MD, an associate professor in the UC Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience and principal investigator of the study at the UC site, “but medications exist that have been shown to improve quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients or help control its behavioral symptoms, and studies are continuing to develop new therapies and medications.”

Aslam and his co-investigator, Robert Krikorian, PhD, are accepting volunteers for the study, which is sponsored by Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. (Neither investigator reports a conflict of interest.) Men and women 55- to 85-years old with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s may be eligible to participate. A study partner, such as a spouse, close friend or adult child, will also be involved.

“In addition to administering the investigational drug, we will be doing MRI brain scans and memory testing,” says Krikorian, who specializes in cognitive disorders and is affiliated with the Memory Disorders Center at the UC Neuroscience Institute. Krikorian notes that supplements and many other medications for Alzheimer’s disease are allowed for those participating in the study.

UC is one of 78 national and international centers for the study, which consists of two parts. Part I is to assess the efficacy and safety of the investigational drug compared with a placebo administered for 78 weeks. Participants who complete Part I may choose to participate in Part II, which is a long-term extension designed to assess the safety and efficacy of the investigational drug administered for up to an additional 260 weeks. (No placebo is involved in Part II.)

Participants will be paid for time and travel related to the study visits. Study medication, study-related procedures and testing and study care visits will be provided at no cost.

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