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Practical Lessons from Amyloid Immunotherapy Trials in Alzheimer Disease

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Objectives: Amyloid immunotherapy trials are central in Alzheimer disease (AD) drug development, with the potential to influence all future disease-modifying randomized controlled trials (RCTs). This study investigates practical experiences of staff and participants in immunotherapy RCTs. Setting and methods: The Clinical Trial Research Unit of the Memory Clinic at Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden is an experienced centre specialized in Alzheimer RCTs, where four active and passive phase I/II immunotherapy trials are currently ongoing. Meetings were held with staff members, who were asked to describe their experiences and suggest necessary improvements. In addition, a pilot study was conducted to investigate motivations and expectations of participants in immunotherapy RCTs. A questionnaire was sent to 20 patients, and another similar questionnaire to their caregivers. Results: The main issues emphasized by staff members concerned the critical window of opportunity for recruiting RCTs participants, the much higher level of effort required of patients and caregivers in immunotherapy RCTs compared to classical cholinesterase inhibitor RCTs, problematic informed consent procedures, and confidentiality limitations in trials with different sponsors. For patients and caregivers, the main reason for participating in RCTs was the wish to help research and other people, followed by the need for information, continuity of care, safety and support. Compared to patients, caregivers' expectations of trial results were more realistic. Conclusions: More open debates of practical experiences from different trial centres and sponsors are essential for optimizing trial designs and improving conditions for participants.
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Keywords: Amyloid; alzheimer disease; clinical trials; drug development; immunotherapy; passive immunotherapy; practical experiences

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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  • Current Alzheimer Research publishes peer-reviewed frontier review and research articles on all areas of Alzheimer's disease. This multidisciplinary journal will help in understanding the neurobiology, genetics, pathogenesis, and treatment strategies of Alzheimer's disease. The journal publishes objective reviews written by experts and leaders actively engaged in research using cellular, molecular, and animal models. The journal also covers original articles on recent research in fast emerging areas of molecular diagnostics, brain imaging, drug development and discovery, and clinical aspects of Alzheimer's disease. Manuscripts are encouraged that relate to the synergistic mechanism of Alzheimer's disease with other dementia and neurodegenerative disorders. Book reviews, meeting reports and letters-to-the-editor are also published. The journal is essential reading for researchers, educators and physicians with interest in age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Current Alzheimer Research provides a comprehensive 'bird's-eye view' of the current state of Alzheimer's research for neuroscientists, clinicians, health science planners, granting, caregivers and families of this devastating disease.
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