Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: A Time to Focus on Research
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. It’s a month where we stop to think about the 5.8 million Americans living with Alzheimers, and how someone in the US develops the disease every 65 seconds. It’s a time to provide extra support to the more than 16 million Americans who perform the role of caregiver, devoting an estimated 18.5 billion hours of care to those with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. And it’s a time to think about the importance of research in this area.
By 2050, the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s is projected to rise to nearly 14 million. People living with Alzheimer’s need treatment options – but research has been painfully slow, and patient recruitment challenging. Here’s why:
- Because of disease progression, it can be difficult to use patient databases for recruitment. It’s key to work with a recruitment company that connects with new patients regularly.
- Patients often need a care partner for Alzheimer’s studies, but many patients early in disease progression have not yet identified a caregiver. Recruitment messaging should be clear about requirements and sites must be flexible to accommodate care partners.
- Alzheimer’s trials lack diversity, despite the fact that African Americans are twice as likely as whites to develop Alzheimer's disease. In order to ensure that all medications work well for all patients, recruitment must be tailored to enhance diversity. Partnering with organizations that work with specific patient communities is one way to do this.
Antidote is proud of its contribution to research in Alzheimer’s, and how many patients we have connected to Alzheimer’s research. Not only have we recruited for an Alzheimer’s registry, we’ve also focused on Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and early Alzheimer’s trials as well.
In one instance, a pharma company wanted Antidote to help create a registry of 8,000 people who were showing very early signs of Alzheimer’s, but weren’t yet diagnosed. We created a prescreener on a dedicated landing page, developed customized digital marketing strategies to target those worried about Alzheimer’s, and connected with several vibrant patient advocacy groups that informed their communities about the new registry and encouraged people experiencing memory loss — or their loved ones — to sign up. As patients completed the prescreener, we added another layer to ensure that the appropriate patients were signing up: our Patient Liaison Management team reached out via phone to gauge patient interest and motivation. In just two months, we’re proud to have delivered 8,000 patients willing to raise their hand for Alzheimer’s disease research.
In another, a pharma company was running clinical trials for potential early intervention treatments for MCI. They were struggling to find patients who met their specific eligibility requirements and had a consistent study partner to attend every site visit. By integrating a dementia screening tool into the pre-screening process, working with advocacy partners, running our own digital marketing campaigns, and providing phone validation services, we were able to connect more than 3,000 patients with this research opportunity.
Up next, we’ll be working with a key Alzheimer’s patient advocacy group to release findings from a survey of Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers that examined attitudes towards clinical research. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, to learn more about our work connecting patients to trials, please download our case studies below.