Wednesday, August 1, 2018
How do you find participants for clinical drug trials, especially if related to the dreaded "A" word, Alzheimer's disease? As outlined in The New York Times, such recruitment is not easy.
There are 5.4 million Alzheimer’s patients in the United States. You’d think it would be easy to find that many participants for a trial like this one. But it’s not. And the problem has enormous implications for treatment of a disease that terrifies older Americans and has strained families in numbers too great to count.
The Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation, which is helping recruit participants for the Lilly trial, estimates that to begin finding participants, it will have to inform 15,000 to 18,000 people in the right age groups about the effort. Of these, nearly 2,000 must pass the initial screening to be selected for further tests to see if they qualify.
Just 20 percent will meet the criteria to enroll in Lilly’s trial: They must be aged 60 to 89, have mild but progressive memory loss for at least six months, and have two types of brain scans showing Alzheimer’s is underway. Yet an 80 percent screening failure rate is typical for Alzheimer’s trials, said John Dwyer, president of the foundation. There is just no good way to quickly diagnose the disease.
The onerous process of locating just 375 patients illustrates a grim truth: finding patients on whom to test new Alzheimer’s treatments is becoming an insurmountable obstacle — no matter how promising the trial.
For more, read, For Scientists Race to Cure Alzheimer's, the Math is Getting Ugly. My thanks to colleague Laurel Terry for passing this article on to us.