UAB joins international Alzheimer’s disease drug trial

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 8:41 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It can be hard to find hope when the subject is Alzheimer’s Disease, but researchers at UAB are about to test a drug that seeks to protect people at risk for the disease before it ever affects them.

Dr. Marissa Natelson Love, Associate Professor of Neurology at the Heersink School of Medicine says this study is very important.

“This study is taking advantage of the fact that we know the toxic plaques that build up (in the brain) in Alzheimer’s disease can actually build up 15 to 20 years before people have symptoms” says Natelson Love. “And so this study is called the Ahead Study because we’re trying to get ahead of those memory changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease by removing those toxic plaques... in folks that do not have any symptoms in order to hopefully prevent them from ever developing those symptoms.”

The study is looking for people between the ages of 55 and 80 who are not showing symptoms of the disease. If initial screening shows the candidate does have plaque but not symptoms and they agree to take part, they would receive the anti-amyloid antibody Lecanemab over a period of up to four years.

The study is being paid for by National Institutes of Health and Eisai Inc., a United States subsidiary of Eisai Co., Ltd.

Natelson Love points out that six million Americans currently have Alzehimer’s and that number could double or triple over the next 25 years without treatment. Because of that urgency and because Alzheimer’s risk increases for African Americans and Hispanic Americans, it is important Natelson Love says, to have all kinds of people in the study. And as devastating as the memory-robbing disease is, Natelson Love is hopeful about the drug in this trial and others on the way.

“I’m very hopeful about this drug, Lecanemab... I think that’s gonna be a big game changer for this disease and how we’re able to manage it. And there are other possible treatments that are coming soon. So I think a lot of things will change in the next five to 10 years.”

If you’d like to take part in the AHEAD study, you can find more information here.

Get news alerts in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store or subscribe to our email newsletter here.