What are clinical trials?
Scientists are working hard to advance research with the help of volunteers to perform clinical trials to find a treatment, prevention or cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch® is a program that conducts research to determine which treatments are safe and effective against the disease. Currently, the TrialMatch database consists of more than 250 studies at different sites throughout the country and online.
Five TrialMatch trials
There are five different kinds of trials offered by TrialMatch: treatment trials, diagnostic studies, prevention trials, screening studies and quality of life studies. When a study is created, there are two main strategies implemented to ensure the accuracy of the results. Trials conducted may be placebo-controlled. Participants in a placebo-controlled study are randomly selected to either receive the experimental treatment or receive a placebo (control group). A placebo is an inactive pill that has no treatment value. This type of study helps clinicians determine the effectiveness of the experimental treatment by comparing the two groups. The other way to ensure trials remain unbiased as trials are “doubleblinded”; participants and researchers do not know who is receiving the drug and who is receiving the placebo.
A clinical trial must past three-phases before it is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). After being tested in a laboratory and the new drugs are deemed reasonably safe and effective, the new drug then goes through the three phases.
Phase I involves fewer than 100 healthy volunteers that test the drug. In this phase, scientists are looking at potential risks and side effects of the drug. A few hundred volunteers who have the disease are then selected for the study to determine further information on the best dosage of the drug that is safe for the participant to
consume in Phase II. Phase III then provides evidence that the new drug is safe to use and effective. Scientists do this by using several hundred to thousands of volunteers in multiple study sites, worldwide, administering the drug. The FDA then considers whether or not to approve the new drug. Phase IV (post-marketing studies), the final phase, is required following the approval from the FDA. Researchers continue to monitor the health of persons taking the medication to better understand the longterm
safety and effectiveness of the drug. Click here to see learn about local trials.
Who can participate?
TrialMatch is not just for those with dementia. Caregivers, healthy volunteers and those who are at risk of developing the disease can participate in TrialMatch. People who are selected will create a health profile. This health profile matches you up with different trials going on within your area that are looking for participants. Studies may accept you based on your age, gender, race, previous medical history and other medical
conditions. Before participating in a study, please keep in mind that the experimental treatment may not be effective or you may have some unpleasant side effects related to the treatments that are being used for the study. Talk to your doctor first to see if participating in a clinical trial is right for you.
TrialMatch participation is free and completely confidential. You can pick and choose which trials you are interested in joining and are free to discontinue a trial. Participating in clinical trials allows you the opportunity to actively play a role in finding a cure. You are providing hope for people with the disease, their loved ones and future generations by aiding in the research to find a treatment for the disease.
To sign up for TrialMatch or to learn more about the program, visit here