Johns Hopkins testing drug that could prevent Alzheimer's disease

Study needs more volunteers

BALTIMORE - Johns Hopkins is one of 67 international medical centers taking part in groundbreaking research on Alzheimer's disease. 

The 'Anti-Amyloid in Asymptomatic Alzheimer's', or A4 Study, could be a game changer for the millions of people who have the condition, taking aim at Alzheimer’s before memory ever slips.

"We're thinking that that might be the perfect time to target an intervention and keep people from going on to develop dementia," said Johns Hopkins Research Program Manager Sarah Lawrence.        

The trial centers on scanning for an elevated level of amyloid in the brain.  Amyloid is a protein normally produced, but in older people, it can form plaque deposits.

Researchers believe a build-up of that gunky plaque is what kills off brain cells.  The hope is, this experimental drug will destroy the amyloid before the protein destroys the mind.

The A4 Study hopes to enroll about 1,000 healthy but at-risk people to be tested.         

At Johns Hopkins, they're looking for 20 patients to take part.

"For people who are willing to donate their time, they're gonna contribute so much information and so much research to the field,” Lawrence said.  “And that's info that can be used for the next several decades to help contribute to finding a cure, finding the causes."

Volunteers for the trial need to be between 65 and 85 years old, have no symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, yet show a high risk for developing the condition.

"In order to enroll in the trial, you have to be positive, or you have to show elevated levels of the amyloid plaque through pet scans," said Lawrence.

The ambitious drug trial is set to last for three-years, and participants need to be able to head to the hospital once a month.  They'll be tracked to see if clearing the amyloid plaque prevents Alzheimer’s disease.        

Click HERE for more information about the A4 Study.

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