Alzheimers-300x127A groundbreaking research facility at Plymouth Science Park is beginning clinical trials for a drug that could be the first approved Alzheimer’s treatment in 14 years.

Alzheimer’s, a type of dementia, is frequently referred to as a plague of our times. More than half a million people have Alzheimers, which is a type of dementia capable of taking a person’s most treasured memories, causes difficulty in thinking, problem solving and even language.

The last drug to be approved to help improve Alzheimer’s patients’ cognition was Donepezil in 2002. Re:Cognition Health at Plymouth Science Park is the only facility in the South West to begin the clinical trial, referred to as the MINDSET study, for a new Alzheimer’s drug, currently known as RVT-101. RVT-101 shows evidence of helping Alzheimer’s patients enhance their cognition.

Dr Stephen Pearson, clinical director at Re:Cognition Health, said evidence is positive that the drug trials will be successful. Alzheimers is still not fully understood and Dr Pearson makes it clear to everyone that taking part in the trials that RVT-101 cannot bring back lost memories, but it could improve mental functions impaired by Alzheimers such as patient’s ability to interact, attention levels and general talkativeness. Dr Stephen Pearson has been working on clinical trials for Alzheimer’s for nine years

Participants in the trial initially have a phone conversation with the Re:Cognition staff to assess their suitability and commitment to the process. They then come to the centre for a physical check, blood test and head scan if they haven’t had one in the past year. If approved, they are then randomized and entered into the trial.

Patients will be randomly selected to take the drug or a placebo to assess whether the treatment works. Neither the patients or Re:Cognition Health staff will know which treatment each individual is taking until the trial is over. Patients will then visit the centre eight times in a year to assess their progress with a range of blood tests, heart tracing, ECGs or cognitive testing. The Re:Cognition Health team hope to find a cure for dementia within ten years.