Alzheimers is a devastating disease that affects nearly 5.2 million Americans. Jacob Mintzer, MD discusses the latest advancements in Alzheimers prevention.
Researchers across the globe, including those at Roper St. Francis, are working daily and making exciting headway in finding ways to treat, heal and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. While the answer to the question, “can we prevent Alzheimer’s” is still no, we are making progress in identifying the causes of the debilitating disease, and tailoring treatments accordingly.
Thanks to new research and imaging techniques developed in the last five years, we are now able to visualize and identify the lesions or damage that Alzheimer’s causes to the brain some 10 to 15 years before a patient experiences any memory loss. That gives us the unique opportunity to try to heal or prevent the occurrence of this damage before patients experience symptoms of memory loss. New research at Roper St. Francis today is aiming to accomplish this goal.
Through our clinical trials program we are studying and evaluating new medications targeted to these types of brain lesions that show up in brain imaging of patients with Alzheimer’s. These medications will slow and prevent more accumulation of the brain lesion, and thereby reduce and eventually prevent damage of Alzheimer’s disease in those people that show the presence of this damage in the brain.
We are also making progress with other treatments that harness the patient’s immune system to try to remove the Alzheimer’s disease lesions from the victim’s brain and heal the damage already caused.
This new breakthrough in imaging and brain scan technology can identify the lesions causing Alzheimer’s disease and is key to this treatment and prevention research. While still in the developmental phase, the imaging is incredibly expensive and is currently predominantly used for research purposes.
It is exciting and promising that for the first time in many years we can think about a future where patients will not suffer the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. We are still a long way from curing this disease, but we are making great headway in preventing the disease from manifesting its symptoms.
Our team at the Clinical Biotechnology Research Institute (CBRI) will be continuing this cutting-edge research and development for at least the next five years. We are privileged to be part of a network of 30 sites across the country, and the only site in South Carolina; other centers in our region include Duke, Emory and the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.
It is certainly a very exciting time to be in Alzheimer’s research. If patients want to help this research and help us to create a world without the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, please call the CBRI at (843) 724-2302.
By Jacobo Mintzer, MD, director of the Roper St. Francis Clinical Biotechnology Research Institute (CBRI)