UR Medicine Conducting Numerous Alzheimer’s Treatment and Prevention Studies

Nov. 6, 2014
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month
As one of the nation’s premier Alzheimer’s disease clinical research sites, UR Medicine is conducting numerous studies into experimental drugs that are designed to treat or prevent this devastating illness.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than five million American suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.  That number is projected to grow to nearly 14 million people by the year 2050 unless significant progress is made in finding new treatments.

“Our study participants play an important role in fighting this disease.  There is an urgent need for study volunteers, both with and without Alzheimer’s disease, in Rochester and across the nation,” Anton P. Porsteinsson, M.D., director of the University of Rochester’s Alzheimer’s Disease Care, Research, and Education (AD-CARE) program. “Other than funding, this is the greatest obstacle we have to treating, preventing, and curing Alzheimer’s disease.

The University is part of the nation’s leading Alzheimer’s disease study network, the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS).  The consortium is made up of 40 Steering Committee sites across the United States (including Rochester), as well another 30 national and international sites that participate when needed.  Funded by millions of dollars from the National Institutes of Health and the private sector, the ADCS research focuses on advancing studies of interventions that might not otherwise be tested by industry.

A small sampling of the clinical studies open to new participants in Rochester:

The A4 Trial – This is a first-of-its-kind study, examining a drug treatment that could prevent the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease if given before a patient shows any signs of the illness.  UR Medicine researchers are using a highly specialized PET scan to identify people  who have brain changes that occur before the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms.  (The scan is unavailable in Rochester to anyone who is not part of the study.) Participants are between 65 and 85 years old and are at significant risk for Alzheimer’s, but have no outward signs of the disease.  Some of the risk factors include a family history of Alzheimer’s, or a personal history of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.  In addition, Latinos and African-Americans face a higher risk than the general public.

The NOBLE Study – This study is evaluating an investigational drug that could improve memory in people who have mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

The SNIFF Study – The purpose of the SNIFF study is to determine whether a type of insulin, when administered as a nasal spray, improves memory in adults diagnosed with mild memory impairment or probable Alzheimer’s disease. 

For more information, please contact AD-CARE at (585)760-6550.