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Our studies

MARC conduct a range of clinical trials into dementia, mild cognitive impairment and memory problems with the aim to better understand how to diagnose, treat, cure and prevent dementia.

If you are interested in participating in our current trials, please contact us.

If you do not believe you would be appropriate for one of our current trials, you can still contact us to learn more about our upcoming trials.

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Dementia with Lewy Bodies drug trial

This is a pharmaceutical drug study that aims at improving cognition, memory and functioning of people with dementia with lewy bodies.

This is the second drug trial that is exclusively for people with lewy bodies which is a huge step for people with this rarer form of dementia

Inclusion criteria

Dementia with Lewy Bodies

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Agitation in Alzheimer's Disease

This study is a pharmaceutical drug which aims to reduce symptoms of agitation in people with Alzheimer's Disease.

Agitation symptoms can be very distressing for the person with dementia but also for their family members. This drug has the potentially to reduce agitation and therefore some of the distress associated with agitation.

Inclusion criteria

Alzheimer's Disease

Agitation

 

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Genetics in young-onset and late-onset Alzheimer's Disease

This is an observational study that aims to find out more about any potential genes associated with Alzheimer's Disease.

The study involves one visit with memory tests, a blood test and discussion about family history. 

Inclusion criteria

Young-onset Alzheimer's Disease (diagnosis before the age of 65 years old)

Late-onset Alzheimer's Disease (diagnosis between the age of 65 & 75 years old)

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Genetics in Dementia with Lewy Bodies

This is an observational study that aims to find out more about potential genes associated with dementia with lewy bodies.

The study involves one visit with memory tests, a blood test and discussion about family history.

Inclusion Criteria

Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB)

Clive's Corner

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Professor Clive Holmes

The RhEumatoidarthritiS, medIcation and memory STudy (RESIST)

Two distinctive features of the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease are amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Alongside these changes there is also evidence that inflammation is occurring in the brain (neuroinflammation).

There is increasing evidence that neuroinflammation contributes as much to the disease progression of Alzheimer’s Disease as do the plaques and tangles themselves. A modest increase in the level of a protein in the blood that promotes inflammation: tumour necrosis factor –alpha (TNF-α) has been found to be associated with increased memory decline in people with Alzheimer’s Disease.

TNF-α inhibitors are widely used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory arthritis. TNF-α inhibitors are used to reduce the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and to reduce joint damage in people with moderate to severe disease. They are usually prescribed when traditional disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as methotrexate do not work. TNF-α inhibitors: etanercept, adalimumab, certolizumabpegol, infliximab and golimumab inhibit the action of TNF, thus suppressing inflammation.

There is a growing evidence base which suggests these drugs may be important in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.  A small study has shown that patients taking TNF-α inhibitor drugs for rheumatoid arthritis may be protected against the development of Alzheimer’s Disease by as much as 60%. A small randomised double-blind study of a TNF-α inhibitor (etanercept) showed significant evidence of a slowing down of cognitive decline after regular injections under the skin. This suggests that inhibition of this protein may be an approach to Alzheimer’s Disease treatment.

We have assessed data from the British Society of Rheumatology Biologics Registry-Rheumatoid Arthritis (BSRBR-RA). This registry contains data on 19,000 patients with rheumatoid arthritis on a biologic drug. Those on a TNF-α inhibitor were compared to those on a traditional DMARD. Rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with TNF-α inhibitors appeared to have a lower incidence of dementia compared to traditional DMARD patients.

As a result of this preliminary evidence we are carrying out a comprehensive study, funded by the Alzheimer’s Society, of rheumatoid arthritis patients on TNF-α inhibitors who have early memory problems and following their memory function over 18 months and comparing how well they do with a group of rheumatoid arthritis patients with memory problems who are on traditional DMARDs.

If TNF-α inhibitors are found to reduce the rate of cognitive decline in participants with rheumatoid arthritis who have early memory problems this would give enough evidence for a definitive randomised controlled trial of TNF-α inhibitors in people at risk of dementia.

Participants are now being recruited from rheumatology out-patient clinics in Belfast and Southampton.

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