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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 now 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 eligibilty for any of our enrolling studies.

Currently Enrolling New Participants

Observational Studies:

National Institute on Aging Longitudinal Study

PI: Douglas Galasko, MD
CONTACT: Tracey Truscott, LCSW (858) 822-4800 or
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.


PI: James Brewer, MD, PhD
CONTACT: Tracey Truscott, LCSW (858) 822-4800 or
TIME INVOLVED: Up to 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 a diagnosis of NC, 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.

PI: Douglas Galasko, MD
CONTACT: Beata Santiago at (858) 822-4800
DESCRIPTION: Research into biomarkers – measurements that inform us about a disease process - is an increasingly important component of trying to understand the complex changes in the brain in aging, Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. We, and other researchers worldwide, are engaged in building a detailed picture of brain structure and biochemistry through the use of brain imaging techniques and the analysis of cerebrospinal fluid. These measures have helped to improve how we diagnose, follow, and evaluate treatment for Alzheimer’s. Measuring how biomarkers change over time is important in assessing interventions, and has helped us to more rigorously evaluate new approaches to treatment and even prevention. Researchers are trying to build a detailed map of brain changes on the trajectory to Alzheimer’s disease to determine who may be at risk and who might be protected. Participants in our longitudinal study have likely undergone a lumbar puncture procedure so that their cerebrospinal fluid could be analyzed for levels of biomarkers such as amyloid beta protein and tau protein. While this one time CSF collection is valuable since volunteers can be compared to one another, having more than one data point within an individual person is even more valuable, as it can enable us to understand patterns of change in biomarkers. Having longitudinal biomarker data can provide us with specific information about how those changes in CSF over time may relate to changes in imaging biomarkers and cognitive test data. Dr. Galasko and colleagues at the ADRC would like to collect a follow-up sample of cerebrospinal fluid from all longitudinal participants who are willing to undergo a second lumbar puncture procedure. Many of the studies outlined
below will use CSF data in their analyses and would benefit significantly from data that is collected in the same timeframe as the information gathered in their unique protocols. As with your previous LP, you will be compensated $100.00 for participation in this optional additional study procedure. Please contact Beata Santiago at the Shiley-Marcos ADRC to schedule this additional LP appointment at your earliest convenience (858) 822-4800.

Clinical Drug Trials:

PI: Douglas Galasko, MD

CONTACT: Tracey Truscott, LCSW (858) 822-4800 or (study coordinator, Helen Vanderswag, 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


TRIAD:  Avanir (AVP-786)
PI:  James Lohr, MD      

Contact:  Lorraine Cheng, MA  (858) 775-8869 (

Time involved: 16 weeks

Description:  The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of deuterated [d6]-dextromethorphan hydrobromide/quinidine sulfate (d6-DM/Q or AVP-786) in persons with agitation secondary to dementia of the Alzheimer's type.  AVP-786 is a combination product of d6-DM with quinidine sulfate (Q) that interacts with multiple receptors to decrease behavioral disturbances associated with AD.  

Requirements: Age 50-90; MMSE 6-26; study partner, moderate to severe agitation/aggression


EMERGE:  Biogen (BIIB037)

PI:  James Lohr, MD     

Contact:  Mallory Mulvaney,

Time involved: 2 years

Description:  The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Aducanumab (BIIB037) in persons with early Alzheimer's disease.  Aducanumab is a human monoclonal antibody, and it is being evaluated to determine whether it can remove the amyloid plaques and slow the progression of symptoms in early AD.  

Requirements: Age 50-85; MMSE 24-30; study partner, PET and MRI scans, able to have monthly infusions


ABBVIE M15-566

PI: Shauna Yuan, MD

CONTACT: Tracey Truscott, LCSW (858) 822-4800 or

TIME INVOLVED: 92 weeks of treatment; 33 visits over 24 months

DESCRIPTION: The purpose of the study is to test a new drug (ABBV-8E12) which is being developed by AbbVie Pharmaceuticals. ABBV-8E12 is a humanized IgG4 mono­clonal antibody against human microtubule associated protein tau. It targets soluble extracellular tau in the brain, which has been implicated in the development and spreading of tau pathology. ABBV-8E12 may be able to block soluble tau aggregates, or seeds, from propagating between cells and thereby decrease the spreading of tau pathology and slow down Alzheimer’s disease. Drug is administered as infusion once a month.

REQUIREMENTS: Age 55-85; stable on memory medica­tion for 3 months or no memory medications, 8 MRIs, 3 Lumbar punctures, 1 PET scan, study partner is required. MMSE 22-30


PI: Shauna Yuan, MD

CONTACT: Tracey Truscott, LCSW (858) 822-4800 or


DESCRIPTION: Double blind, randomized, placebo con­trolled, pilot PK/PD, evaluating tau acetylation inhibitor salsalate for 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, thus preventing tau aggregation.

REQUIREMENTS: The age range is 50-85, with diagnosis of AD, MMSE 14-30. Subject agrees to LP, MRI, PET (amy­loid and tau), cognitive testing study partner.


BI 409306

PI: Gregory Light, MD

CONTACT: Joyce Sprock (619) 471-9455 or

TIME INVOLVED: 17 visits during treatment period of 14 days

DESCRIPTION: The investigational drug in this study is a potent selective phosphodiesterase 9 (PDE9A) inhibitor, which is believed to target glutamatergic signaling path­ways via increase of cGMP to strengthen LTP and synaptic plasticity leading to memory enhancement. Phase 1c clini­cal safety study, randomized into 25mg or 100mg dose groups. Compensation and travel assistance provided.

REQUIREMENTS: Age 55-85, diagnosis of AD, MMSE 18-26, stable treatment for 3 months if taking memory medications.