PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Treating Alzheimer’s disease can be as complex as the disease itself. So far, no single drug appears to be the solution. Improving treatment is the motivation behind a regional health system taking part in a national research project.

Finding better treatment to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease is seemingly as elusive as finding a cure. But as Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller explains, a clinical trial about to get underway in northeastern Pennsylvania may help prove there’s a better option.

“In Alzheimer’s disease we can see that there’s a decrease in the front part.” Comparing color-coded images of two brains, Geisinger Memory and Cognition Center Behavioral Neurologist Maya Lichtenstein, MD pointed out how the one with less red coloring is indicative of Alzheimer’s disease: a cruel reality for an estimated 5.8 million Americans. Now, researchers want to know if a drug not yet on the market might have a positive impact. It’s the basis for a clinical trial called T2 Protect AD.

Dr. Lichtenstein said, “This study is looking to see if this medication might actually help to slow neurodegeneration and help to keep people’s memory and thinking better for longer.”

The drug which Dr. Lichtenstein referenced is called troriluzole; a reformation of the drug riluzole which has safely been used to treat another neurodegenerative disease: ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“And so we’re hoping to show that it’s safe for people who have Alzheimer’s disease as well,” she said.

For its role in T2 Protect AD, Geisinger is looking for ten men or women between 50 and 85-years-old already diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The study will last 48 weeks and requires nine medical visits. Each participant will receive two MRI brain scans: one at the start and the other at the end of the clinical trial.

“That we’re able to do this trial here is really exciting,” said Dr. Lichtenstein.

But for Dr. Lichtenstein, the clinical drug trial is more than just professional pride. It’s a matter of hope.

“All that we have right now is hope that it might be able to stave off some of the progression of the disease and keep people as good as they can be for as long as they can be,” she said.

The T2 Protect AD clinical trial is happening at Geisinger’s Memory and Cognition Center in Plains Township on Baltimore Drive. The deadline to enroll in the trial ends in November.

You can learn more about participating by calling 570-808-3461 or emailing Rosemarie Delucca at