Improved treatments may be on the way for some 280,000 Canadians with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at the Douglas Hospital are evaluating the efficacy of a new generation of medications that may, not only halt Azheimer’s Disease progression, but also, reverse some of the symptoms.

“Our current clinical trials are looking at a new second generation of drugs, “ says Douglas Medical Chief for the Program for Dementia with Psychiatric Co-morbidity and McGill Psychiatry Professor, N.P.Vasavan Nair MD, FRCPC. “We are hopeful that these medications will be disease-modifying and that we may see significant improvement in our patients.”

On-going Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials include the following medications: 

  • Rosiglitazone – Previous research has shown that glucose metabolism in the brain may be an integral component in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This study is examining factors such as: glucose metabolism in the brain, cognitive performance, changes in brain structure and the inter-relationship between these factors.
  • Xaliproden - Xaliproden is a compound that mimics the effects of neurotrophins in the brain. Neurotrophins are essential for the normal growth of neurons, regulating nerve function and response to injury throughout life. Xaliproden also increases the production of neurotrophins by the brain and amplifies their activity.
  •  Memantine – Research findings have shown that excess glutamate, a neurotransmitter, can cause degeneration of brain cells and contribute to the progression of Alzheimer's Disease. Memantine blocks glutamate and has been shown to improve patients’ ability to function in their environment and was associated with a decrease in caregiver time.
  • Lecozotan - The aim of this study is to test the safety and efficacy of Lecozotan, a selective serotonin antagonist that may present a novel strategy for managing the cognitive deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Flurbiprofen - Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like flurbiprofen are believed to slow the early progression of Alzheimer’s disease by lowering the secretion of a protein responsible for brain cell death. This study will investigate flurbiprofen’s effects on memory and on the subject’s autonomy.

Clinical trials are the primary method through which we can determine the safety and value of new pharmaceuticals,” adds Nair. “We rely on our participants whom we continue to enrol.”

Individuals who are interested in participating in an Alzheimer’s Disease clinical trial, should be over 50 years of age and be fluent in either French or English.