Local People Sought for New Alzheimer’s Drug Trial in Forth Valley

People with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) who live in Forth Valley are being asked to consider taking part in a ground-breaking trial.  The trial is investigating if a common blood pressure drug, losartan, has additional properties that could slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in people with and without hypertension.

Led by academics from the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Queen’s University Belfast, and University College London and hosted by North Bristol NHS Trust, around five patients in Forth Valley are already enrolled but more are needed to allow the trial to reach competition. Researchers believe losartan, which first became available in 1995, can slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by improving brain blood flow and altering chemical pathways that cause brain cell damage, brain shrinkage and memory problems in Alzheimer’s disease.

NHS Forth Valley Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry and Clinical Director, Dr Vivek Pattan, said: “This is quite important for patients in Forth Valley as they do not normally have the opportunity to take part in trials that are run in the big centres. As this is a known drug, it is relatively easy and safe to participate, as what we are doing is looking at the possibility of a different result compared with its usual indication.”

The trial known as RADAR (Reducing pathology in Alzheimer’s Disease through Angiotensin taRgeting), is hoping to recruit approximately 230 participants together with a similar number of carers from across the UK, including Forth Valley.

Participants in the study, which involves 23 centres across the UK, will be assigned to receive either losartan or a placebo and nobody will know until the end who received which. This is one of the most powerful study designs available.

People with Alzheimer’s disease who have high or normal blood pressure can take part if they meet certain eligibility criteria and RADAR will use brain scans to measure whether losartan reduces the rate of brain shrinkage that is known to occur in Alzheimer’s disease.  It will also use standard questionnaires on memory performance and quality of life – important indicators of whether the drug might be helpful.

Professor Pat Kehoe, Gestetner Professor of Translational Dementia Research in the School of Clinical Sciences at the University of Bristol, who is leading the trial, said: “The involvement of patients and their carers at the various academic and NHS associated dementia research centres working with this UK-based trial will be instrumental in helping to test if losartan will be a future treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Anyone with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s from Forth Valley who is interested in taking      part in the study can talk to their Community Psychiatric Nurse/ Alzheimer’s link worker in the first instance, who can then direct them to local research teams. Alternatively they can contact the Dementia Network Clinical Studies officer for Forth Valley Rosie Ashworth on 07816067066 or email: gg-uhb.dementiaresearch@nhs.net