Alzheimer’s drug undergoing clinical trials in northeastern PA

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PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The lack of a more effective drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is no secret.

But there is new hope tonight thanks to a clinical drug trial study happening at roughly 150 sites – including one in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

NEPA Memory & Alzheimer’s Center has been part of that study for a few years.

Today, one of the participating patients sat down with us to talk about his condition and the impact the drug has had on him.

He is a 62-year-old Luzerne County man who wishes only to go by his first name, Kevin.

“I would have some problems remembering things and then as time went on we found out what the problem was,” said Kevin – Participating Patient in Aducanumab Study.

Kevin was diagnosed four years ago with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

“We were offered medication but at that time nothing on the market was very effective,” said Kim – Kevin’s Wife.

Kevin and his wife learned about a new clinical trial of a drug made by Biogen called aducanumab. One of the drug trial sites was NEPA Memory & Alzheimer’s Center. Kevin was chosen to to participate in 2017. For a year and a half, he received the drug intravenously once a month.

I would get the infusion and within a few days the fog came off, the blankets came off the brain and it just really cleared up my thinking. Amazing,” said Kevin.

“We definitely were seeing improvement. The medication was keeping him stable so there was no decline whatsoever and in fact there was improvement in a lot of areas,” said Kim.

NEPA Memory & Alzheimer’s Center has participated in a number of clinical drug trials to treat memory loss. But where other drugs have failed, this one shows great promise.

“Aducanumab appears to help a significant number of people and slow their decline in daily function activities,” said Dr. Mario Cornacchione – Research Director, NEPA Memory & Alzheimer’s Center.

Aducanumab is now on its second round of drug trials with participating patients like 89-year-old Leonard Benzi. The Plains Township man has been dealing with mild cognitive impairment for a decade and hopes aducanumab helps him accomplish one thing.

“Make me normal again,” said Leonard Benzi – Participating Patient in Aducanumab Study.

Aducanumab is now on the fast track with the FDA seeking approval. The research director here says a decision will probably be made in months rather than years. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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