Banner Alzheimer’s Institute
"The success of our program depends on our volunteers," said Deb Swanson, director of clinical trials at BAI. "There is such a need out there right now for research into Alzheimer's disease." The BAI research projects include:
Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative
The Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative is a five-year, $60 million project developed by the National Institutes of Health. It is designed to identify the biological markers associated with memory decline and Alzheimer's disease. Banner Alzheimer's Institute is one of 58 sites in North America participating in the trial.
Participants in the study will periodically have images taken of their brain using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) which shows brain structure and some will also receive Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans which show chemical process at work in the brain. Study volunteers will receive clinical and neuropsychological exams and researchers will take samples of their blood, urine, and in some cases, cerebral spinal fluid.
Data collected will be used to establish standards for tracking the progression of memory decline. Blood samples will be tested for the presence of an Alzheimer's susceptibility gene and a DNA will be preserved for possible use in future studies. The ability to see biological and brain changes before memory symptoms appear is useful because it gives scientists targets for measuring the effectiveness of potential prevention therapies.
Investigators are seeking participants who are between the ages of 55 and 90 and fall into one of the following three groups:
- Cognitively normal, in good general health with no memory problems
- Suffering from Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a transitional state between normal aging and early Alzheimer's disease. In good general health, but with memory problems or concerns
- Have a diagnosis of early Alzheimer's disease
The ADNI study is supported by more than a dozen federal agencies and private-sector companies and organizations.
More information on the study is available at www.alzheimers.org/imagine.
BAI is also participating in a Phase II clinical trial of Huperzine A which is a cholinesterase inhibitor, one of a class of drugs used to treat patients with mild to moderate cases of Alzheimer's disease. It is extracted from a Chinese herbal plant. Sponsorship for this study comes from Neuro-Hitech, which owns the compound, and the National Institutes of Health.
Participants in this study will take medication daily and will be evaluated nine times over six months. When the study is complete, study volunteers will have the option to continue taking the compound and undergoing evaluations for an additional six months for free.
Arizona Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center study
BAI and the other members of the Arizona Alzheimer's Disease Core Center are participating in a research project that will compare the clinical features of dementia-causing illnesses with the pathological findings they produce in the brain and distinguish those changes from normal aging.
The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Participants will be added to a registry of people in Arizona who are cognitively normal, have mild cognitive impairment, or are afflicted with Alzheimer's disease or another kind of dementia. Those who enroll will be eligible to participate in other kinds of Alzheimer's studies.
Study volunteers will receive annual medical exams, memory and thinking tests, and, after death, they will undergo a brain autopsy.
Participants will also submit a one-time blood sample that will be used for a genetic test to determine the subject's relative risk of Alzheimer's disease. The blood will also be used to obtain the subject's DNA which could be used for future, unspecified research projects.
Five hundred people will take part in this study, including 50 who volunteer for the research at BAI.