02:18pm Thursday 19 October 2017

World-first Victorian drug trial aims to slow Alzheimer’s disease

More than 400 healthy adults aged 65 to 85, who do not have any memory problems, are needed for the Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s Disease study (the A4 study).

Study participants will undergo a simple, painless brain scan. Researchers from the University of Melbourne and the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health will examine the scans for a build up of amyloid plaques, which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease in some cases.

Eligible participants who show high levels of amyloid will either receive a monthly dose of a promising new anti-amyloid drug, or a placebo. Volunteers with low levels of amyloid may take part in a separate observational study.

The study, which has been recruiting since 2015, has recently received a funding boost, thanks to a major donation from the Yulgibar Foundation.

The call for participants coincides with a public lecture tonight by prominent Alzheimer’s disease researcher Professor John Hardy, who was the first to establish a genetic link between amyloid accumulation in the brain and Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Colin Masters, who leads the A4 study, says researchers hope one of the new anti-amyloid drugs will slow or even halt Alzheimer’s disease-related early damage to the brain.

“This study is about predicting who is at risk and how fast they will decline,” Prof Masters said.

“This is the first attempt at stopping the disease before it starts and before it progresses to full blown dementia.

“Melbourne is the world’s largest single site for this study, which is funded by public-private partnerships between philanthropic donors, universities, hospitals, biotech grants and the pharmaceutical industry.”

Recruitment will close at the end of 2016 and first results are expected in 2020.

To find out more, or to enroll in the study, phone 1800 443 253 or www.florey.edu.au


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