After decades of research, Alzheimer’s disease is still incurable, but international studies involving a research team at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont could lead to a major breakthrough. Hope lies more and more in prevention.
The number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in the world will double in the next 25 years. We are talking about an epidemic because of the aging of the population.
Research to find a cure has caused several disappointments in the last two decades: nothing has really succeeded in stopping the evolution of the disease.
“New treatments, which really have an incisive effect on the disease, have not been found. It’s a bit like the Holy Grail we’ve been looking for for at least 20 years, “says the neurologist at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont Alain Robillard.
New clinical trial
Dr. Robillard does not give up, as the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital clinical research team is involved in two international studies. Patients were selected according to strict criteria to evaluate the efficacy of a new drug.
One of these clinical trials is in phase 3; so it’s been safe, but researchers still have to measure its effectiveness.
“Generally, it can take 10 to 15 years to see the drug on the market; and if we get to phase 4, that’s when we will be looking for thousands of participants in various hospitals, “explains Ginette Chouinard, Clinical Research Coordinator at the same hospital.
However, the experienced nurse, who surrounds patients and their families, says that the research protocol ensures that her clinical judgment is not clouded by hope.
Everything is done to preserve objectivity. Selected patients continue to take the usual medications while receiving the research molecule or placebo. Never the doctor, the hospital staff or the patient will know what is given to the participants of the clinical trial.
Prevention has proven itself
We are still trying to understand Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. But if we can not heal, we can prevent, believe the researchers.
“We see, with interventions at the youngest, that by controlling the usual culprits such as hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle and smoking, we reduce the risks and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease significantly. And that is documented, “says Dr. Robillard.