SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – There may be a breakthrough in slowing or stopping the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. A drug trial is underway at UCSF and at medical centers across the country to see if giving a drug before symptoms occur is what’s needed to keep people functioning at a steady level as they grow older.
“We have been trying to find ways to reverse the disease or to slow down the disease for almost 50 years now,” said Julio Rojas, a neurologist at UCSF.
Rojas says the drug Lecanemab has been shown to reduce the amount of amyloid plaque in the brains of dementia patients, and while those who took it in a previous study had less severe cases, they continued to decline. This new trial is for those who do not have Alzheimer’s yet but have significant levels of amyloid plaque.
“The question right now is, what if we offer these treatments that we know are effective in people with dementia? What if we offered them before symptoms start and that will allow us to hopefully maintain people as they are or prevent some declines,” Rojas said.
Those in the trial will get an infusion every two weeks or once a month for 4-and-a-half years.
“Really to me, it’s my journey. I mean, it’s my mission to let others know how important this study is, especially if they have a family history of Alzheimer’s,” said Carol Turner, a participant in the study.
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Turner is already participating in the study on the east coast. She says her father died of Alzheimer’s, and her mother has signs of dementia.
“My goal, first of all, is to keep my brain healthy. Also, it allows me to be more conscious of my being, you know, my exercise and things about my body,” she said.
UCSF is looking for participants of all races between ages 55 and 80. Those interested are encouraged to visit aheadstudy.org.