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Ground-breaking Alzheimer’s trial available to patients across Kent and Medway

PUBLISHED: 15:55 27 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:55 27 July 2017

Scientists want to see if losartan, a blood pressure drug that first became available in 1995, can complement current treatments for AD

Scientists want to see if losartan, a blood pressure drug that first became available in 1995, can complement current treatments for AD

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Researchers want to investigate whether a drug normally used to treat high blood pressure could also slow down progression of the disease

A ground-breaking trial to investigate whether a drug normally used to treat high blood pressure could also slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is being made available to patients across the county.

Led by academics from the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Queen’s University Belfast, and University College London and hosted by North Bristol NHS Trust, the multi-centre clinical trial, will investigate if losartan, a blood pressure drug that first became available in 1995, can complement current treatments for AD.

The researchers believe losartan can slow down the progression of AD by improving brain blood flow and altering chemical pathways that cause brain cell damage, brain shrinkage and memory problems in AD.

Dr Dalvi, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust’s consultant psychiatrist for older adults based in Folkstone Health Centre is the local PI for the study, which is supported by Clinical Research Nurse, Alison Welfare-Wilson.

The trial known as RADAR (Reducing pathology in Alzheimer’s Disease through Angiotensin taRgeting), is hoping to recruit approximately 230 participants, together with a similar number of carers, from across the UK including sites covering Kent and Medway.

As part of the prime minister’s Challenge on Dementia, funding of nearly £2m was awarded by the Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programme, a partnership between the Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research.

The RADAR study is a double blinded placebo-controlled randomised trial, meaning that some participants will be randomly assigned to receive either the study drug or a placebo and nobody will know until the end who received which - one of the most powerful study designs available.

People with Alzheimer’s disease who have high or normal blood pressure can take part if they meet certain eligibility criteria and RADAR will use brain imaging to measure whether losartan reduces the rate of brain shrinkage that is known to occur in AD.

It will also be using what are standard questionnaires on memory performance and quality of life – important indicators of whether the drug might be helpful.

Professor Pat Kehoe, Gestetner Professor of Translational Dementia Research in the School of Clinical Sciences at the University of Bristol, who is leading the trial, said: “The involvement of patients and their carers at the various academic and NHS-associated dementia research centres working with this UK-based trial will be instrumental in helping to test if losartan will be a future treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.”

People can sign up to Join Dementia Research to see if they are a potential match to the RADAR study either online at www.joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk or Alzheimer’s Research UK, tel 0300 111 5 111.

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