Hackensack, NJ, May 21, 2012 — The New York Times recently reported (May 15, 2012) that the federal government has just approved a groundbreaking clinical trial that could lead to treatments that prevent Alzheimer’s.  In this trial, people who are genetically guaranteed to develop the disease — but who do not yet have any symptoms — will for the first time be given a drug intended to stop it.

Genentech’s drug, Crenezumab, attacks amyloid plaques in the brain. If it can forestall memory or cognitive problems, scientists will know that prevention or delay is possible and appears to lie in targeting amyloid years before dementia develops. Many, but not all, Alzheimer’s researchers believe amyloid is an underlying cause of Alzheimer’s.

For Alzheimer’s, the trial is unprecedented, “the first to focus on people who are cognitively normal but at very high risk for Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

Most participants will come from the world’s largest family to experience Alzheimer’s, an extended clan of 5,000 people who live in Medellín, Colombia, and remote mountain villages outside that city. Family members with a specific genetic mutation begin showing cognitive impairment around age 45, and full dementia around age 51, debilitated in their prime working years as their memories fade and the disease quickly assaults their ability to move, eat, speak and communicate.

Three hundred family members will participate in the initial trial. Those with the mutation will be years away from symptoms, some as young as 30.

Researchers are set to begin the trial in early 2013.  One group of 100 family members with the disease mutation will receive the drug, another group of 100 with the mutation will get a placebo and a third group of 100 who do not have the genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s will also get a placebo (this protects study participants from knowing whether or not they have the mutated gene).  The plan is to run five memory and cognitive tests to detect subtle changes in recall and thinking that usually go unnoticed.  Changes in emotional state including the cardinal Alzheimer’s features of irritiability, sadness, crying, anxiety and impulsivity will also be measured.  In addition, clinical trial participants will have their amyloid levels tested, as well as glucose metabolism in the brain, brain size and the presence of tau, a protein found in dying cells associated with Alzheimer’s.

If any of these indicators improve, it could lead to symptomatic treatment to forestall the disease similar to how blood pressure and cholesterol is currently treated to minimize the progression of heart disease.

For the full story, please visit this link below or feel free to contact Accredited Health Services with questions about this story, and homecare for Alzheimer’s patients.