Alzheimer's disease center seeks patients for new drug studies

DALLAS, Texas, August 29, 1996 -- Two major drug trials recently initiated at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas may offer hope for the millions of Americans affected by Alzheimer's disease.

UT Southwestern is one of 30 medical centers across the nation -- and the only one in North Texas -- testing propentofylline, an oral drug for Alzheimer's that also may be effective for patients who experience dementia as a result of strokes. If the medication proves effective, it could improve the condition of patients or at least slow the progression of Alzheimer's symptoms, said psychiatry research nurse administrator Doris Svetlik. The most common symptoms of the disease are memory loss, confusion, difficulty in finding the correct words for articulate conversation, difficulty recalling names and repetition of previous conversation.

Researchers at UT Southwestern are hoping to enroll about 15 patients and have set a maximum of 24 patients for the study. The 48-week trial is open to men and women between the ages of 40 and 90. They also must have a relative or friend who can take them to regular appointments and respond to researchers' inquiries.

Another major drug study involves SB202026, which is being tested at 35 sites around the United States. UT Southwestern again is the only North Texas testing center. Researchers expect to enroll about 15 patients in the 24-week trial. The oral medication is intended to alleviate the major symptoms of Alzheimer's. The participants, like those in the propentofylline trial, must be coherent enough to answer researchers' questions.

"We are encouraged by the number of new medications being developed for Alzheimer's," said Dr. Myron Weiner, vice chairman for clinical services in psychiatry, assistant professor of neurology, holder of the Aradine S. Ard Chair in Brain Science and director of the clinical core of the National Institutes of Health-funded Alzheimer's Disease Center. "We are hopeful that these new drugs

Contact: Emily Martinez
UT Southwestern Medical Center

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