Seniors who want to participate in Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials may now only need a blood sample to test their eligibility—a development that could help caregivers as well.
The Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute of the University of Southern California recently announced the launch of AlzMatch, a study that will test potential participants’ blood – instead of requiring a PET scan – to see if their brain cells contain a buildup of the harmful protein amyloid.
Based on the results of the blood test, seniors could take part in trials for anti-amyloid treatments that may help treat Alzheimer’s. This change would lower the need for PET scans and speed up the screening process for clinical trials by eliminating the need for involved procedures, such as memory tests, brain scans and more.
“This asks a lot of the caregiver, and many caregivers just can’t manage taking care of their loved one and being in a study because we know caregiving is already more than a full-time job,” said Sarah Walter, MS, co-lead of the ATRI study. “We need studies that are easier for people to take part in, and blood tests are one way to get us there.”
Walter said AlzMatch is working in partnership with Quest Diagnostics, which has more than 2,000 locations in neighborhoods and communities across the nation. This, she said, will make it easy for seniors to get blood tests and will promote diversity.
“We know that the best science includes people from all walks of life, all races and ethnicities, because everyone is affected by dementia,” she said. “A community approach helps us involve everyone.”
We know that the best science includes people from all walks of life, all races and ethnicities, because everyone is affected by dementia.
ATRI said that for the first phase of the study, only participants in the Alzheimer Prevention Trials Webstudy can enroll in AlzMatch.
“The APT Webstudy helps people track their memory through a series of online, no-cost tests that take just 20 minutes to complete every three months and potentially match them to Alzheimer’s clinical trials,” a press release reads.
Webstudy participants must be 50 years old at the youngest, have internet access and be in good health.
Walter said getting trials started more quickly through AlzMatch could accelerate the discovery of effective treatments for seniors.
Getting trials started more quickly through AlzMatch could accelerate the discovery of effective treatments for seniors.
“With a simple blood test collected in the community, we have the potential to speed up clinical trial enrollment and hopefully help find better treatments to help the millions of people living with Alzheimer’s,” she said in the release.