Is relief from Alzheimer’s disease on the horizon?

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Sam Morris

The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is seen Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.

Wed, Nov 19, 2014 (2 a.m.)

The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is seeking people with Alzheimer’s disease to participate in a study of a drug that potentially could slow the progression of the memory-robbing disease.

The NOBLE Study, as it’s called, will examine whether the new drug, T-817MA, benefits people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer's develops when nerve cells in the brain stop functioning normally and cause changes in a person’s memory, behavior and ability to think clearly.

The Food and Drug Administration has not approved a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease since 2003. T-817MA is being studied with the hope of receiving FDA approval.

“What we really want to find are drugs that protect brain cells or stop deterioration,” said Dr. Charles Bernick, associate director of the Lou Ruvo Center. “That’s the hope with this one.”

Many of the existing drugs on the market treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, not the causes.

Previous studies indicate this drug, taken in pill form, stimulates the production of substances in the brain that protect cells from injury, Bernick said. People who took the drug in a previous clinical study reported no serious side effects, he said.

The Ruvo Center is one of 50 medical centers across the country participating in the NOBLE Study. Treatment will last 14 months.

Study participants must be 55 to 85 years old with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and have been receiving donepezil (Aricept) treatment for at least six months. They also must have a study partner who has regular contact with them and is available to attend study visits. Participants cannot live in a nursing home or weigh more than 220 pounds.

The Ruvo Center hopes to enroll 10 to 15 people in the study.

Alzheimer’s disease is the third leading cause of death in the United States and is expected to affect as many as 16 million people by 2050. About 37,000 people in Nevada have Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

For more information about the clinical trial, call 855-LOU-RUVO (855-568-7886) or email [email protected]

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