Howard University clinical trial seeks volunteers at risk for Alzheimer’s

The number of individuals living with dementia is on the rise. By 2050, it’s expected that nearly 14 million Americans will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, up from 5.8 million today, the Alzheimer’s Association reports. Experts around the globe are working to find a cure — including some in the D.C. area.

Researchers at Howard University Hospital’s Division of Geriatrics are looking for individuals ages 60 to 75 that have not been diagnosed with any memory impairment, but do have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, to enroll in a five- to eight-year clinical trial to test the effectiveness of a medication that may delay or prevent the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Thomas Obisesan, professor of medicine at Howard University Hospital, said it’s important to study treatments in those who don’t display symptoms of dementia because “we now know that the disease begins about 15 to 20 years before the appearance of clinical symptoms.”

“This presents an immense opportunity to begin to find ways to delay or prevent the appearance of clinical symptoms. Because once the disease is full blown, it’s far much more challenging to alter the trajectory or the course of the disease,” Obisesan said.

Individuals interested in enrolling in the voluntary prevention initiative, called Generation Program, will be tested for the gene APOE4, which can increase one’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s. Those who test positive will be given either a placebo or the investigational treatment, which aims to prevent the build up of amyloid-β protein plaques in the brain — a protein present in patients with Alzheimer’s. Research is ongoing to better understand how and when these plaques influence Alzheimer’s disease, according to the National Institute on Aging.

More information on how to enroll in the Howard University Hospital trial, as well as details on qualifications and the treatment being tested, is on Generation Program’s website or by calling 1-866-244-8907. is another resource where individuals can learn more about Alzheimer’s treatment and prevention trials going on around the country.

“We need people to participate in these clinical trials. It is not possible for clinician scientists to do this all by themselves,” Obisesan said.

“They need the cooperation of the community, and collectively working together we can make progress on conquering this devastating disease.”

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up