Dr. Laurie Ryan was our guest for the June Alzheimer’s Talks. Dr. Ryan is Chief of the Dementias of Aging Branch in the Division of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). At the National Institute on Aging, she directs Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials research.
Dr. Ryan discussed efforts and plans to improve the pace and quality of clinical trials and clinical research, with an emphasis on better strategies for recruiting volunteers into trials. The NIA currently has 59 ongoing clinical trials, many in early-stage clinical drug development, as well as a number of trials looking at non-pharmacological or lifestyle interventions.
A few key highlights:
Goals have been set to improve the pace and quality of clinical trials
We have a national goal to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. The NIA has set recruitment and citizen engagement milestones to improve recruitment into clinical trials/clinical research to help meet the national goals. Key milestones include: Partnering with other federal agencies to create public education campaigns; providing supplemental funding to research studies to help build diverse community partnerships; and using technology to reach more individuals and to assess individuals in their own communities.
The NIH will also be requiring a single institutional review board of record for multi-site trials for any applications after September 2017 to help streamline the process.
We need more volunteers
There is a huge need to recruit large numbers of volunteers, as they typically need to screen ten-times the number of participants to fill each study. Large-scale studies, like the A4 and Generation study, are important but can take years to find enough participants. Special focus is on underrepresented and minority populations, to make sure that potential therapies work for everyone.
How can you participate?
Visit these websites to look for clinical trials that might be a good fit for you:
Thank you to Dr. Ryan for sharing with us all that the NIA is doing to advance recruitment for clinical trials. To learn more, you can listen to an audio playback or read the transcript of the conversation.