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Alzheimer's Disease

Research Opportunities

 

The Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center has a wide variety of opportunities for volunteers to participate in important research studies designed to discover ways to prevent, treat, and ultimately eradicate Alzheimer’s disease. We are recruiting diverse volunteers on an ongoing basis to learn more about memory and aging.

Research Registry

Are you interested in participating in a research study but don't currently see one that suits you?

You can join our Research Registry to be placed on a list for future studies. 

*Call the ADRC 858-822-4800 and ask for Tracey Truscott, LCSW for more information on being added to the registry or to determine your eligibility for any of our enrolling studies.

 

Currently Enrolling New Participants

 

Observational Studies

COGNITIVE AGING LONGITUDINAL STUDY (ALSO AVAILABLE IN SPANISH)         

PI: Douglas Galasko, MD            

CONTACT: Tracey Truscott, LCSW (858) 822-4800 or ttruscott@ucsd.edu                 

TIME INVOLVED: minimum 5 years                                                                                                                                        

DESCRIPTION: The purpose of this study is to learn how the brain changes as we age. This is an observational study with no medication, with behavioral, medical, and cognitive data collection and testing as well as a neurological exam. This is done annually from the time of enrollment to death. Information about strategies for healthy brain aging is provided, as is feedback about one’s annual performance on cognitive testing. We continue to obtain blood and CSF samples to match up changes in chemicals we can measure in the blood and CSF with changes in cognition and brain structure.                                      

REQUIREMENTS: Age 65 and older if normal cognition or diagnosis of MCI or early dementia due to Alzheimer’s, FTD, or DLB; study partner; LP and MRI required; brain autopsy required.

For the study brochure in English, click here

For the study brochure in Spanish, click here

Evoked Response Potentials

PI: James Brewer, MD, PhD CONTACT: Mollie Paster, mrpaster@ucsd.edu (858) 822-4800

TIME INVOLVED: minimum 2 years 

DESCRIPTION: This study is to examine the utility of non-invasive measures of the brain’s electrical activity as an early marker of Alzheimer’s disease.  Electroencephalogram recordings (EEG) and Event-Related Potentials (ERP) have shown promise in small studies, but no study has examined how they compare to other markers more commonly used in clinical trials of Alzheimer’s disease. We will collect EEG and ERP data along with brain imaging using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess brain atrophy and use positron emission tomography (PET) to assess for the presence of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease. We will determine whether EEG and ERP measures are powerful enough to serve as surrogates for these more expensive markers of disease.  
Clinical/cognitive, imaging (MRI and PET scans), biomarker, and genetic characteristics will be assessed across the three cohorts: Normal controls (NC), Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Visits will occur triennially for all subjects with telephone contacts in between visits.

REQUIREMENTS: Age 60-90; fluent English speakers (as of age 12), with normal cognition or a diagnosis of MCI, or AD; have corrected visual acuity of at least 20/50 for distant vision; have overall good general health. Subjects are required to undergo an MRI, PET scan, and EEG.

Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative 3

PI: James Brewer, MD, PhD      

CONTACT: Mollie Paster, mrpaster@ucsd.edu (858) 822-4800

TIME INVOLVED: minimum 5 years                                                                

DESCRIPTION: The primary goal is to discover, optimize, standardize, and validate clinical trial measures and biomarkers used in ongoing Alzheimer’s disease research. The Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) plays a central role in improving treatment trials. Since the study’s launch, ADNI Investigators with regulators in both the US and abroad have facilitated the design of major completed and ongoing drug trials. ADNI 3 is a continuation of this work. ADNI 3 is a non-randomized, natural history, non-treatment study. Clinical/cognitive, imaging (MRI and PET scans), biomarker, and genetic characteristics will be assessed across the three cohorts: Normal controls (NC), Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Visits will occur annually for MCI and AD subjects and biennially for NC subjects.               

REQUIREMENTS: Age 55-90; have normal cognition or a diagnosis of MCI, or AD; have a study partner; have overall good general health. Subjects are required to undergo MRI and PET scans and undergo a lumbar puncture.

Clinical Trials for Persons with MCI or Early AD

DISCOVER 


PI: Douglas Galasko, MD


CONTACT: Sandy Jerkins, sjerkins@ucsd.edu or 858-822-4800 (study coordinator, Dan Szpak, RN)


TIME INVOLVED: Up to two months and will require at least five study clinic visits including a three-day stay at the clinical research unit. Compensation will be provided to enrolled participants.


DESCRIPTION: Posiphen is an experimental drug developed as an anti-amyloid medication that may delay Alzheimer’s disease (AD) onset or slow the progression of possible AD-related brain damage due to amyloid build­up. Participants in Discover will help researchers learn if the experimental drug is both safe and tolerated. This is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with a 50/50 chance of receiving the experimental drug.


REQUIREMENTS: Age 55-85; diagnosis of MCI or mild Alzheimer’s disease; MMSE 24-30; study partner, MRI scan, lumbar puncture, willing to undergo extended stay in clinical research unit (2 nights).

To view a slideshow presentation for more information, click here

To view the study flyer, click here

 

UC CURES SAL-AD                                                                                                                                              

PI: Stephanie Lessig, MD               

CONTACT:  Barbara Johnson (858) 246-1303 or b4johnson@ucsd.edu                              

TIME INVOLVED: 52 weeks                         

DESCRIPTION: Double blind, randomized, placebo controlled, pilot PK/PD, evaluating tau acetylation inhibition for Salsalate in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Salsalate is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID), which is used to treat arthritis. Salsalate is being tested here for its property to inhibit tau acetylation, which may play a role in tau aggregation.

REQUIREMENTS: Age 50-85 with diagnosis of AD; MMSE 14-30. Subject agrees to LP, MRI, PET (amyloid and tau), cognitive testing and must have a study partner.

BIOHAVEN, BHV4157-203 (T2)


PI: Gabriel Leger, M.D.                  

CONTACT: Nana Kori (858)246-3279 or nkori@ucsd.edu

TIME INVOLVED: 58 weeks total (up to 42 days of screening period, 48 weeks treatment, and 4-week post-treatment observation period)

DESCRIPTION: A phase 2, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of BHV-4157 in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease. BHV-4157 is an optimized prodrug of the glutamatergic agent, riluzole, which is currently used to treat ALS. Preclinical model suggests that BHV-4157 has neuroprotective effects from AD-related pathology and cognitive dysfunction. The medication is an oral tablet taken once daily.

Click here to watch KUSI interview with Dr. Leger about the T2 trial

Click here to watch the KPBS interview with Dr. Feldman about the T2 trial

Click here to read the Forbes.com article about the T2 trial

Click here to watch another KUSI interview with Dr. Leger about thet T2 trial

REQUIREMENTS: Age 50-85; diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease; study partner to accompany all clinic visits; cognitive testing; blood and urine sample collection; MRI; optional lumbar puncture

Biomarker Predictors of Memantine Sensitivity in Patients with Alzheimer's Disease


PI: Neal R. Swerdlow, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Psychiatry


CONTACT: Joyce Sprock 619-471-9455 or jsprock@ucsd.edu


TIME INVOLVED: 30 weeks


DESCRIPTION: This study is designed to assess whether a non-invasive EEG biomarker can predict which patients will benefit from treatment with memantine, a drug often used to treat patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). We know that memantine benefits some, but not all, patients affected by AD. We reported that a single “test dose” of memantine significantly enhances early auditory information processing (EAIP) indices of brain function measured using EEG in both healthy adults and psychiatric patients. These results suggest that these EAIP measures can be used as “biomarker” evidence that memantine is active within brain circuitry relevant to cognition. In this study, we will determine whether the EAIP response to a “test dose” of memantine can be used to predict which patients with AD will be most vs. least sensitive to the clinical benefits of this medication over a 24-week treatment period. Clinical, cognitive, and genetic characteristics will be assessed during the screen visit. Subjects will then undergo EEG, EMG and cognitive testing during 2 test sessions, one week apart, followed by 24 weeks of memantine treatment.


REQUIREMENTS: Age 50-75 with diagnosis of AD; MMSE 10-22 or MOCA 15-24; no previous treatment with memantine. Participants must be willing to undergo EEG, non-invasive EMG, one blood test and cognitive testing and have a caretaker or study partner willing to accompany with them to visits.