As the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease continues to soar, the Global Alzheimer’s Platform (GAP) Foundation is establishing a new model to speed Alzheimer’s clinical trials and increase participation in research.
To achieved its goal, the foundation is launching various measures to slash trial cycle times by up to two years. That would allow potential life-changing therapies to reach Alzheimer’ patients faster.
One such measure is the creation of a sophisticated online recruitment process for interested participants — from those with pre-symptomatic conditions to those with mild and moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
The Washington-based foundation also plans to extend its GAP Network (GAP-Net) — a platform of academic and private institutions established as high-performing clinical trial sites — with the goal of shortening the duration of trials. The network already includes 58 respected institutions including Stanford University, University of California San Francisco, Compass Research and the Mayo Clinic.
Of those 58, 47 have established and share a single Institutional Review Board. This could speed up Alzheimer’s trials while protecting the rights and safety of participants.
The foundation also wants to improve the recruitment process itself. As such, it is devoted to increase community engagement, both live and online. This applies to participants of all ethnic backgrounds, including blacks and Hispanics. To include such people, however, GAP-Net sites need a closer connection with the healthcare professionals serving these populations.
To that end, the foundation is launching MemoryStrings.org, a digital platform that links GAP-Net researchers, research volunteers, caregivers, advocates and local communities. The potential for its success can be seen by GAP’s Kansas City initiative, the Memory Strings Kansas City Alliance, which boosted volunteer trial participation by 292 percent.
“The first person cured of Alzheimer’s will be someone who participated in a clinical trial. The nation desperately needs a therapy for Alzheimer’s. Significantly improving the clinical trials process is critical to implementing those therapies,” John Dwyer, president of the GAP Foundation, said in a press release. “We know that our methodology for expediting trials is working. We are attacking a major hurdle in bringing therapies to patients.”
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