A new study is testing a drug that battles Alzheimer’s before signs of symptoms

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Every 65 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s the No. 1 cause of dementia, according to Dr. Cherian Verghese, principal investigator at Keystone Clinical Studies in Plymouth Meeting. He’s part of a nationwide study of a drug that could treat the disease before a person even knows it’s a problem.

“It is looking to diagnose people who do not yet have any symptoms,” he explained. “We now know that the bad protein in Alzheimer’s disease, called amyloid plaque, collects in the brain for 15 to 20 years before you have outward symptoms of the short-term memory problems.”

He said anyone between the ages of 55 and 80 who does not have indications of dementia can sign up for the Ahead Study to find out if they have signs of amyloid plaque in their brains. It starts with a PET scan.

“If the PET scan shows they have the amyloid protein, they get to try the investigational drug that is felt to remove the amyloid and slow or stop the decline that may be taking place in the brain,” Verghese said.

“The dosing of the investigational drug is tailored so that people with low amyloid loads get lower doses and people with higher amyloid loads get a higher dose of the drug.”

Interested participants can learn more about the study at aheadstudy.org or by calling 610-277-8073.​

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