Dr. Tariot explains how common Alzheimer's disease clinical trials are and what they're working to achieve.
There are 400 possible treatments for Alzheimer’s disease that are already in or approaching clinical trials. It’s actually probably the most explosive area of treatment research in all of medicine which is one of the reasons we have created this new institute that we call the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and why the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium is so committed and active.
Just to give an example at our institute alone, right now, we have 20 clinical trials going. These are all focused on treatment. Generally speaking, the treatments can be broken down under certain categories. Can you slow the illness down by attacking the fundamental biology of the disease, so most of the studies are targeted that way.
Then there are others that ask a different type of question, “Well, can we at least improve memory and thinking for the time being so Grandma can live in the apartment a year or two longer?” So that’s a very legitimate form of treatment that’s also being studied.
So I think the main message I want to give is not so much about the specific studies but that we consider it best medical practice now for somebody to get a specific diagnosis, to get optimal medical therapy now with approved therapies, to get the help to help them manage the disease process. It’s a chronic illness; it’s not a death sentence. There are ways you can adopt and adjust, maximize your strengths, improve quality of life, even though there’s this illness.
And then we think it’s best practice to take a shot at clinical research, just the way most people do with cancer. There’s a chance that these medicines can help although we can’t guarantee it, and we do everything we can to minimize risk although we’re never free of risk with anything that we do.
About Dr. Tariot:
Dr. Pierre Tariot is board-certified in internal medicine and geriatric psychiatry at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute. He has devoted his career to helping thousands of patients and families cope with dementia. He is also a world leader in the development of new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of memory loss.
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