ELKHART, Ind. -- A couple months ago, NewsCenter 16 took you through a series of reports entitled "Taking Care of Mom and Dad."
It's something many in the Baby Boom Generation are going through, often while also taking care of our kids too.
One of the biggest changes for mom and dad can be their memory. If they live long enough, one in two will develop dementia by the time we're 80.
There are drugs to slow memory loss, but no cure, and studies are being done every day to try and change those odds.
There is a new nationwide study going on right here in Michiana and you or someone you love just might qualify to test the newest Alzheimer's drug.
The Drug Doctors Test on Alzheimer's Patients at the Elkhart Clinic was developed in Japan by Toyama Chemical, a company better know for making Fugi Film.
Also a global drug developer, Toyama is now moving into its second round of trials at 60 sites including the U.S. It's called the Noble Study.
Elkhart is not a thriving metropolis, but neurologist Dr. Tom Vidic and his researchers here at the Elkhart Clinic have been engaged in national Alzheimer's studies for the last 20 years, with drugs now on the forefront of treatment.
Dr. Vidic says this newest drug is exciting
“We know from animal models that it should slow down Alzheimer's,” said Vidic.
But until it's tested on humans we won't know how effective, what's now called, T-817 might be.
Right now drugs like Aricept, Exelon and Namenda are the front runners to slow memory loss.
The hope is T-817 will work in a different way and they are recruiting patients for the Elkhart study with mild to moderate Alzheimer's between the ages of 55 to 80.
“It seems to keep the neurons alive longer despite having Alzheimer's,” explained Vidic. “There's also some question as to whether it does something with this amyloid in the brain and they've not been able to tease out exactly what is occurring but they know it seems to make a difference in the models.”
Most researchers agree a cure for Alzheimer's anytime soon is not likely.
“We're not looking to reverse the disease, that's beyond what we think we are capable of right now. Five years ago I was much more optimistic than I am today. I am excited it we can slow things down. It’d be great if we found a vaccine that we can take at 25, and I'm not saying we won't, but right now this is a bad enough problem. Anything we can do to help, I'm all in favor of,” Vidic said.
Unlike many studies where patients are getting placebos, Vidic says patients in this study will continue to get the drugs they are already on. They'll visit the clinic every 4 to 6 weeks and the drug will be taken in pill form at home.
“We're excited about the possbility of looking at a new compound,” Vidic said. “Then determining if this is maybe the next new drug for Alzheimer's.
It will perhaps replace a piece of the Alzheimer's puzzle which robs our loved ones of memories.
The Elkhart Clinic is now pre-screening patients for the Noble Study, which will last for one year.
Those who qualify won't pay for any part of their treatment.
Again, they are looking for people with mild to moderate dementia.
Alzheimer's Research/Noble Study/Thomas R. Vidic, M.D.
Now pre-screening patients with mild to moderate dementia, ages 55-80
Elkhart Clinic, 303 S. Nappanee Street, Elkhart, IN
Contact: Kay Stanley