Topeka clinic part of trial unlocking answers to Alzheimer’s

Topeka clinic part of trial unlocking answers to Alzheimer’s
Updated: Mar. 30, 2023 at 10:00 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Topeka’s Cotton O’Neil Clinical Research is looking for people to take part in a trial that could bring a step forward in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

“This is not intended to be a cure,” Stormont Vail Dr. Michael Cox explained. “We’re still looking for something that can slow or halt the progression of the disease.”

The study is a Phase 3 trial for the medication Remternetug, which is aimed at attacking beta-amyloid protein in the brain. The protein is widely thought to be a factor in Alzheimer’s disease.

“This particular compound does show good evidence that it’s able to decrease the amyloid beta protein, and in some cases remarkably so,” Dr. Cox said. “The next question is how does that correlate to.. will it make any difference in the progression of disease or not? Will it halt it? Will it slow it?”

The trial is looking for people ages 60 to 85, with evidence of mild to moderate cognitive decline, and who do not have any other neurologic disorder, chronic illness or mental illness. The person also must have a partner or caregiver - in part to assist with questionnaires that will be required to track the patient’s cognitive function.

“(The patient) may see things one way and the person who’s living with them or around them all the time might answer things differently,” Dr. Cox said.

The first step in applying for the study - or in addressing any concerns about memory loss - is a memory screening. Cotton O’Neil offers them free for people over 50. Early warning signs include confusion with time or place, difficulty completing familiar tasks, or memory loss that disrupts daily life.

See the Alzheimer’s Association’s 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

Dr. Cox says dementia is different from mere forgetfulness.

“You might talk and in a couple minutes you ask the same thing, a couple minutes later, ‘Don’t we have an appointment today?’ The same questions over and over. That’s a pretty good signal that there’s something going on cognitively,” he said.

The new report from the Alzheimer’s Association found nearly 7 million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s. The number is expected to grow to 13 million by 2050. Dr. Cox says the numbers show the need for answers is great.

“I think we’re on the cusp of getting something that can help,” he said.

Patients in the trial will get a PET scan, and regular MRIs. They won’t have to pay for the care, and will be compensated for their time.

People interested in seeing if they or a loved one qualifies may call Cotton O’Neil Clinical Research at 785-368-0744. You may contact that same number to schedule a free memory screening.