Butler Hospital first to begin trials for Alzheimer’s prevention drug

BUTLER HOSPITAL is the first site in the worldwide AHEAD Study to administer a dose of a drug that may delay or prevent Alzheimer’s disease. / COURTESY BUTLER HOSPITAL

PROVIDENCE – Butler Hospital has become the first site to administer a drug that is being studied worldwide by researchers looking to prevent Alzheimer’s disease from developing in people who are at risk for it.

Butler is among hospitals in the U.S., Japan, Singapore, Australia and Europe to participate in the AHEAD Study, a trial for the drug BAN2401. The drug, developed by Eisai Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of the Tokyo-based Eisai Co. Ltd., may delay or prevent memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

BAN2401 targets buildups in the brain of amyloid plaque, a type of protein that is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

An Attleboro man was the first to receive an infusion of the drug as part of the study this month at Butler.

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“Both of my parents were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I can’t run away from that, but I can help find a potential treatment,” Dave Kalberer, 63, said. “I’m proud to be at the front of the line for this exciting opportunity and am hopeful this trial can change not just my life but millions more.”

Participants as young as 55 are being enrolled in the study, which is the first to take aim at preventing Alzheimer’s. Eligible participants do not have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or related memory loss.

Patients are divided into two groups based on the level of amyloid plaque in their brains and given monthly or twice-monthly infusions, or a placebo.

“The personalized approach for people years before memory loss has begun has the potential to be a breakthrough in Alzheimer’s prevention,” said Dr. Stephen Salloway, director of the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital. “This new tailored approach can potentially serve as a model to improve clinical trials in Alzheimer’s research and other diseases.”

Butler continues to screen and enroll patients for the trial. For more information, contact the hospital’s Memory and Aging Program Outreach Team at 401-455-6402 or email memory@butler.org. To join the Butler Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry, visit butler.org/AlzRegistry.

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN contributing writer.

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