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JHU team gets $7.5 million to test Alzheimer’s drug

Daniel Leaderman//September 15, 2015

JHU team gets $7.5 million to test Alzheimer’s drug

By Daniel Leaderman

//September 15, 2015

A grant from the National Institutes of Health will allow researchers from the Johns Hopkins University to test a drug they hope will slow or prevent the onset of Azlheimer’s.

The five-year, $7.5 million grant will fund a clinical trial continuing work — previously led by Hopkins neuroscientist Michela Gallagher — with the drug levetiracetam.  Often used to treat epilepsy, the drug has also been shown to calm hyperactivity in the brains of patients with a type of memory impairment known as amnestic mild cognitive impairment, or aMCI, which increases the risk of Alzheimer’s, according to the university.

“We expect our upcoming trial to demonstrate efficacy in preserving cognition and memory in aMCI patients while delaying progression to the clinical stage of Alzheimer’s dementia,” Gallagher said in a statement.

The trial, expected to last up to two years, will be a partnership between Hopkins, the NIH’s National Institute on Aging, and the Baltimore-based pharmaceutical company AgeneBio, of which Gallagher is founder.

Since she owns stock in the company, Hopkins conflict-of-interest policies prevent Gallagher from participating in the clinical aspects of the trial, according to the university.



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