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New Alzheimer's drug tested at Vanderbilt seeks to slow or stop memory loss

(WZTV)

Vanderbilt University is part of a study testing a new drug to help combat a disease that plagues five million Americans - Alzheimer's.

The nationwide study is testing "troriluzole," a new investigational drug that might help to slow or stop memory loss and thinking problems with those already diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

"Troriluzole is a drug that modulates glutamate, protecting against neuron loss," the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study said in a release. "Glutamate problems in the brain can lead to brain cell dysfunction and disease, including Alzheimer’s disease."

"T2 Protect AD" study is testing folks from ages 50 to 85. It's being held in more than 30 cities around the United States.

According to the ADCS, about five million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease right now, and the number of people diagnosed with AD is expected to triple by 2050.

"The drug being studied in the T2 Protect trial is a neuroprotectant that may be beneficial to people with Alzheimer’s disease by improving symptoms and/or slowing the progression of the disease," ADCS said.

ADCS says this study is different and is meant to help people who already have mild to moderate Alzheimer's - while most other studies seek prevention.

Troriluzole was approved by the FDA in 1995 to slow progression of ALS, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

According to the Alzheimer’s association, 120,000 Tennesseans are currently suffering from the disease, and Vanderbilt is hoping to reduce that number.

Alex Soffer is very familiar with this deadly disease. Her dad, a retired military colonel with a huge personality, was diagnosed with it in 2014.

Soffer got engaged in 2009, and remembers her dad not showing the type of excitement someone would expect.

“He was a little indifferent to his youngest daughter getting engaged,” she said.

That's when they first realized something was wrong.

She says it’s a disease where memory loss is just the beginning.

“It attacked every orifice of his body, and it devastated our family completely.”

They tried everything they could, but there was little they could do to slow the progression.

Her dad passed away last October, he was just 68-years-old.

“It's a beast, and, eventually, the beast wins.”

The T-2 Protect Trial is calling for better disease-modifying drugs. Soffer believes her father would have been a perfect candidate for the trial. She said physically, he was very healthy and wanted to donate his organs.

Unfortunately, he couldn't do that. She said she was told organs could not be donated since the origin of the disease still has many uncertainties.

Her dad was able to donate his brain to science. Soffer said those donations are imperative to move science forward to find a cure for the disease.

She's also very active in the association, and her team has raised about $40,000 for research in the past two-years.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, this is the most expensive disease in America, costing more than cancer and heart disease.




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