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Pennington Biomedical Seeks Volunteers for First-of-its-Kind Study Aiming to Slow Memory Loss Caused by Alzheimer’s Disease

Released: Monday, June 20, 2016

Baton Rouge, LA – A research study that aims to identify mechanisms that may help prevent or slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is underway at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center in the Institute for Dementia Research and Prevention (IDRP). The Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s study (the "A4 study" for short) will test whether a new investigational treatment, called an anti-amyloid antibody, can slow memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

The study is being conducted at research centers across the country, including Pennington Biomedical, and is seeking healthy volunteers who have the early changes in their brain associated with the disease, but do not yet have any symptoms.

The number of AD cases is expected to triple from more than 5 million today to as many as 15 million in 2050. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Today, there are no available disease-modifying medications for AD.

“For the first time, the A4 Study could offer hope and a chance for people with the earliest signs of AD to fight back,” said Dr. Jeff Keller, director of Pennington Biomedical’s IDRP and an investigator on the research study. “If you or a loved one are concerned about developing AD in the future, I hope you’ll contact us and get involved with this important study and help researchers at Pennington Biomedical explore new ways to prevent or slow Alzheimer’s disease.”

In addition to testing whether an investigational medication can prevent or slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease, this study will also examine why certain populations, including African Americans and Hispanics, are more likely than others to develop the disease.

“This research builds on vital work already underway at Pennington Biomedical to find effective treatments for people who have received a diagnosis of AD. The A4 study is another great example of the value our research at Pennington Biomedical provides to the citizens of our region and state. This study, as others do at the center, addresses the burden of chronic disease in Louisiana and aims to improve health outcomes,” said Pennington Biomedical executive director Dr. Will Cefalu.

The IDRP was designated an Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative (ADCS) Site in 2014, making Pennington Biomedical the only ADCS site in the tri-state area of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. ADCS sites work together to facilitate the discovery, development and testing of new drugs for the treatment of AD. Other ADCS sites include Harvard University, Yale University and the Mayo Clinic.

The A4 study is a landmark public-private partnership, funded by the National Institute on Aging, Eli Lilly and Company, and several philanthropic organizations. The A4 trial is coordinated by the University of Southern California’s Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute, with study sites in multiple locations.

For more information on the A4 study, including how to enroll in the study at Pennington Biomedical, please visit www.pbrc.edu/A4 or call 225-763-2973.

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The A4 study is funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging under Award Number P30DK072476. Find additional information by clicking here.

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The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical’s more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.