A new study, entitled Anti-Amyloid in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s study, simply referred to as the A4 study, is currently recruiting African-American volunteers that have already developed brain alterations as a result of Alzheimer’s disease but that have not yet developed symptoms. The study aims to decrease the progression of Alzheimer’s-induced brain damage and associated memory loss before the onset of disease symptoms. The study focuses on African-Americans since it is established that they exhibit two to three times higher risk to develop Alzheimer’s when compared to caucasian Americans. Multiple institutions, including the National Institute on Aging, the primary Federal agency supporting and conducting Alzheimer’s disease research, Eli Lilly and Company, and other philanthropic organizations are funding the A4 Study.
In the A4 study, researchers are testing an investigational drug that targets the protein amyloid, a known and established factor that by accumulating into amyloid plaques in brains’ neurons leads to their death, prompting the onset of Alzheimer’s. The drug is expected to delay the progressive memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s by targeting the deposition of amyloid plaques into patients’ brains.
Reisa Sperling, MD, principal investigator of the A4 Study noted, “It is extremely important that African Americans get involved with this study. We need to know why African Americans develop Alzheimer’s in such high numbers, and the A4 Study offers new hope that we can give people a way to fight back, give them something they can actively do to protect their own memories. For too long, medicines have been developed without substantial research on how they work specifically in African Americans. Medications that are used by the entire community must be developed and tested on the entire community and that’s why it is critical to volunteer for this study.”
In addition to African-Americans who have signs of Alzheimer’s, the A4 Study is also recruiting healthy volunteers between 5 and 85 years old with no impairments in thinking and memory function. Detailed information on the A4 study can be found here, or by contacting 844-A-4-Study (844-247-8839) or by emailing BrainLink@ucsd.edu.
Dr. Sperling added, “I am convinced that we will find a way to end Alzheimer’s disease before our children and grandchildren ever have to face it. But we need everyone to join in this fight.”