PPD Unit Launches Major Dementia Study

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A business unit of Wilmington-based global contract research organization PPD is launching a five-year study involving 30,000 people throughout the U.S. age 50 and older, to explore ways to prevent and treat dementia.

The research entity, Accelerated Enrollment Solutions (AES), is collaborating with the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom on an online registry of U.S. participants for the study, examining the lifestyle and genetic risk factors impacting cognitive function over time.

The goal of the Synexus HealthyMinds Registry is to support researchers’ work of identifying ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Elderly people having fun
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According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.7 million Americans are currently living with the debilitating brain disease. And this number is projected to grow to 14 million by 2050. It is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S.

In 2018, Alzheimer’s and other dementias were expected to cost the U.S. $277 billion and could grow to $1.1 trillion by 2050. The association says early and accurate diagnosis could save up to $7.9 trillion in medical and care costs.

“Research is urgently needed to identify potential methods of prevention and possible treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia,” said Dawie Wessels, M.D., MBA, chief medical officer, AES. “Synexus HMR will provide valuable information about how the brain changes with age, investigate which combination of factors such as exercise and diet really work, and promote how to best encourage people to adopt these practices.”

The registry is open now to U.S. adults age 50 or older who do not have dementia, at www.SynexusHMR.com.

“For those who want to empower themselves with the latest information in brain health and dementia prevention strategies and research, our new registry offers novel and valuable ways to get involved – to do good and do well,” said Alireza Atri, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator on the study, director of the Banner Sun Health Research Institute (BSHRI) in Sun City, Ariz., and a longtime faculty member in neurology at Harvard Medical School.

Participation is entirely online and includes annual cognitive assessments, lifestyle and medical questionnaires, and free brain training games. Registrants also will be among the first to learn about clinical research studies of promising new treatments for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and may have opportunities to join clinical trials.

About AES, BSHRI and U. of Exeter

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AES, based in Horsham, Penn., is a business unit of PPD. It offers pharmaceutical sponsors and contract research organizations site and enrollment solutions through its service brands Acurian, Optimal and Synexus, as well as in combination with PPD’s global clinical development services. AES is underwriting the dementia study.

BSHRI, together with its Arizona consortium partners, is designated by the National Institutes of Health as one of 31 Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers in the nation. In addition, the first state-sponsored Arizona Parkinson’s Disease Center was established at BSHRI. It is also home to The Center for Healthy Aging, which explores the multiple factors contributing to healthy aging to enhance the quality of life for older adults. BSHRI has been part of the nonprofit Banner Health since 1986.

The University of Exeter Medical School works closely with the U.K.’s National Health Service and health care providers to tackle complex global health care needs.

PPD is a leading global contract research organization providing comprehensive, integrated drug development, laboratory and lifecycle management services. Its clients and partners include pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, academic and government organizations.

The companyhas offices in 48 countries and more than 21,000 employees worldwide. It was founded in 1985 as a one-person consulting firm by Fred Eshelman, Pharm.D., and went public in 1996. It was acquired by affiliates of The Carlyle Group and Hellman & Friedman in 2011, at which time it became a private company.

Elizabeth Witherspoon, Ph.D., NCBiotech Writer
Mon, 07/15/2019 - 17:01