Butler Launches Landmark Trial for Alzheimer's Prevention

Release Date: 12/08/2017

Today, the Memory and Aging Program (MAP) at Butler Hospital, a member of Care New England and a major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, enrolled one of the initial participants in an international Alzheimer’s disease (AD) prevention study. The study is investigating whether an oral medication, known as CNP520, can slow the build-up of amyloid plaques in the brain and delay cognitive decline in individuals at risk for the disease. Amyloid build-up is one of the major causes of AD and can begin up to two decades before the onset of the clinical symptoms.

The new study, called Generation 2, is a clinical trial sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals in collaboration with Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and Amgen. The trial is designed for cognitively healthy adults, age 60 to 75 years old, who carry at least one copy of the APOE4 gene and have a build-up of cerebral amyloid in the brain, both risk markers for Alzheimer’s.

Stephen Salloway, MD, MS, director of MAP and professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Warren Alpert Medical School, calls this a landmark event in the fight against Alzheimer’s. He remarked, “This exciting trial brings together advances in genetics, brain imaging, and pharmacology to test a medication to prevent or delay memory loss in people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.” Dr. Salloway has spent more than 20 years spearheading clinical research at Butler Hospital and is recognized as global leader in research and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Jessica Alber, PhD, cognitive neuroscientist and lead investigator for Butler on Generation 2 and several other studies researching AD detection and prevention, is grateful for each individual who signs up to participate. She said, “Those who join a Alzheimer’s prevention research study are truly making a difference for future generations. We are getting close to finding ways to prevent the disease, and this study brings hope for a breakthrough. Today is a very big day for Butler and Brown, and I’m honored to be part of it.” Dr. Alber is also assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown.

Butler Hospital is one of 185 research centers across 25 countries participating in Generation 2. The study seeks to enroll 850 people in the United States and 2,000 people world-wide. As a randomized, double blind study, neither the research team nor the participants are aware of whether the drug or a placebo is being administered in the form of a daily pill. Participants will be followed for five to eight years, with regular follow-up evaluations to identify changes in brain amyloid through brain imaging, cognitive function through testing, and tracking of other disease biomarkers.

The Butler Hospital Memory and Aging Program (MAP) is a global leader in research on the prevention and early treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Over the past 20 years the MAP has conducted more than 100 clinical trials for AD and related disorders leading to development of new brain scans and promising new treatments. For more information about the Alzheimer’s research being conducted at Butler, visit butler.org/memory or call (401) 455-6402.

About Butler Hospital

Butler Hospital, a member of Care New England, is the only private, nonprofit psychiatric and substance abuse hospital serving adults, seniors and adolescents in Rhode Island and southeastern New England. Founded in 1844, it was the first hospital in Rhode Island and has earned a reputation as the leading provider of innovative psychiatric treatments in the region. The Major Affiliated Teaching Hospital for Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Butler is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in conducting cutting-edge research.