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Prevention Study Introduces Alzheimer's Eye Test

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 1:03
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The famous “A4 Alzheimer’s Prevention Trial” continues to build momentum. It is adding an Alzheimer’s eye test that can detect signs of Alzheimer’s long before symptoms appear. Learn about Neurovision’s “Retinal Imaging Technology” in the A4 Trial. See how it works. 

NeuroVision announced its participation in the landmark Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s (or “A4”) clinical trial. 

They will be working with investigators at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine (UC San Diego) and the University of Southern California (USC). 

The purpose of the A4 study is to test whether a new investigational treatment called “solanezumab” can slow or prevent memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s. 

Beta-amyloid is the main suspect behind Alzheimer’s. Solanezumab works by reducing beta-amyloid accumulation in the brain. That may also slow or prevent memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid is a protein normally produced in the brain that can build up in older people, forming amyloid plaque deposits. 

The main A4 study is a public-private partnership, funded by the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health, Eli Lilly and Company, and several philanthropic organizations. USC’s Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute coordinates the trial, with about 70 study sites in several countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan. 

Scientists believe this buildup of deposits may play a key role in the eventual development of Alzheimer’s disease-related memory loss. The overall goal of the A4 study is to test whether decreasing amyloid accumulation with an antibody investigational treatment can help slow the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease. 

“Our best chance of altering the disease may be to start treatment before people have symptoms,” said Dr. Robert Rissman, substudy principal investigator and associate professor of neurosciences at UC San Diego. “Evaluating new approaches such as retinal imaging will allow us to understand how Alzheimer’s neuropathology develops in the eye and how this parallels what is occurring in the brain itself. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct this substudy in A4 with our USC colleagues.” 

Using NeuroVision’s retinal imaging technology, the substudy will characterize retinal amyloid imaging findings in subjects with preclinical AD prior to administration of experimental treatment received as part of the primary A4 study protocol. The substudy will also assess longitudinal changes in retinal amyloid imaging in subjects with preclinical AD and whether it correlates with brain amyloid and cognitive change. One hundred subjects will be recruited into the substudy and imaged annually over three years. 

“If successful, this technique could one day be used in the clinic to identify at-risk patients,” said Dr. Michael Rafii, associate professor of neurology at USC and associate professor of neurosciences at UC San Diego. “Dr. Rissman and I recently identified a strong neuropathological signal using NeuroVision’s retinal imaging system in adults with Down Syndrome, a group of individuals who are at increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.” 

Steve Verdooner, CEO of NeuroVision, remarked that “this is an exciting opportunity to evaluate our technology in a setting in which it could potentially add significant clinical value. Currently, evaluating amyloid plaque burden in the clinical setting is challenging and has limited scope for scaling up to meet the potential demand for effective new drugs. Our technology is designed to be easy-to-use, reliable and, being noninvasive, have minimal impact on patients. If it works in the way we expect, retinal imaging would streamline enrollment into clinical studies and could help identify candidates for new drugs and monitor their efficacy in a practical and accessible setting.” 

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