SIU Medicine Enrolling Patients for Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Trial

April 20, 2021
The Dale and Deborah Smith Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment at SIU Medicine is now enrolling patients with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease to help determine if an investigational drug is effective at treating this debilitating condition. The study will assess the safety and efficacy of donanemab in patients with early symptoms of Alzheimer's.
 
Alzheimer’s disease causes significant memory loss and a measurable decline in thought processes. It involves problems with memory, thinking, language and judgment. Recurring memory loss or difficulty finding the right words to express yourself could be signs of the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. 
 
Participants in the clinical trial will receive a monthly infusion over a period of 17 months. Half of those enrolled will receive the study drug; the other half receives a placebo. At the conclusion of the study, those who received the placebo may be eligible to receive donanemab. The study will also require a blood test to determine the presence of Alzheimer’s disease. 
 
In an initial trial of the new drug, participants showed significant slowing of decline on measures of cognition and daily function. 
 
“Currently, no FDA-approved medications exist to slow down Alzheimer’s disease,” said Tom Ala, MD, professor of neurology and the principal investigator for the clinical trial. “This study addresses a great research need. Participants could make an important difference in the world of our Alzheimer’s patients.”
 
To participate, patients must be 60 to 85 years old and have memory loss that has worsened over time. They must also have a partner or caregiver who spends at least 10 hours per week with the patient and is willing to attend the appointments. All qualified participants will receive study-related medical exams and the study drug at no cost. They may also be compensated for time and travel. 
 
For more information about the study and enrollment, contact Chaille Karl at 217-545-2261 or ckarl73@siumed.edu.
 
The Dale and Deborah Smith Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment at SIU Medicine has been one of three state-designated Illinois Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Centers since 1986. Its goal is to integrate patient care, education and research to better understand the biological aspects of aging, cognition and neurodegenerative disorders. More personalized care can lead to improved patient and family outcomes.  
 
The mission of SIU School of Medicine is to optimize the health of the people of central and southern Illinois through education, patient care, research and service to the community. SIU Medicine, the health care practice of the school of medicine, includes clinics and offices with more than 300 providers caring for patients throughout the region.