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New Alzheimer's drug on trial for treatment
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This year, 50 hospitals across America will host trials of promising new Alzheimer's drug, T-817MA. - photo by Kelsey Dallas
The search for an effective Alzheimer's treatment has faced many setbacks, but one new drug is renewing hope, according to researchers.

T-817MA, designed to slow the progression of the disease even among sufferers already showing moderate memory loss, will enter the second phase of drug trials this year. If approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it will be the first new Alzheimer's drug on the market since 2003, Tech Times reported.

"In my mind, right now, in all the studies that are going on, this is one of the most if not the most promising approach to try to slow down this disease in someone who is already at the point of having moderate stages of dementia," said Dr. Robert Stern, director of Boston University's Alzheimer's Disease Center to Tech Times.

T-817MA slows the pace of mental decline by protecting nerve cells in the brain, CBS News reported. For the second phase of clinical testing, around 450 people showing mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's symptoms will be recruited from 50 hospitals and take the drug under doctor supervision.

The recruitment process is often a major hurdle for drug developers, both because of resistance among people diagnosed with the disease and, in the case of drugs that target Alzheimer's during its earliest stages, the difficulty of identifying eligible patients.

The National Institute on Aging, part of the network of National Institutes of Health programs, promotes involvement in drug trials as part of its effort to help find a cure for Alzheimer's. The organization's recruitment toolkit includes an explanation of why research is important to healthy aging and a look at how older adults can make a difference by signing up.

According to a study from Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, 73 different Alzheimer's drugs are currently in development. But the pursuit of FDA approval is an arduous process, as illustrated by the rate of three new medications per 101 trials logged from 1998 to 2011.

And it's also an expensive one. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. government spends $600 million a year on Alzheimer's research. Members of the Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care and Services asked for that figure to be raised to $2 billion in their 2014 recommendations.
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