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Improving Alzheimer Disease Trials With Genetics: Jessica Caldwell, PhD

SAP Partner | <b>Cleveland Clinic</b>

The director of the Women’s Prevention Center at Cleveland Clinic discussed why understanding genetics may help drug development of Alzheimer disease treatments. [WATCH TIME: 2 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 2 minutes

"Trying to personalize and capture the whole person when they come into clinical trials will be very important. That includes genetics, but does not rely on genetics as the mechanism of further tailoring development of drugs."

A significant hurdle in developing therapeutics and care models for Alzheimer disease (AD) that work for people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds is the recruitment and retention of traditionally underrepresented groups in clinical trials. Previous research indicating a higher risk of AD among certain groups of individuals has forced clinicians to stress the importance of inclusion. While most clinical trials aim to have a homogenous population, excluding these patients could have potentially harmful long-term effects on the effectiveness of and process for future approved medications.

Jessica Caldwell, PhD, understands there are complexities in recruiting these patients to these clinical trials. Caldwell, the director of the Women’s Movement Prevention Center at Cleveland Clinic, will head a recently announced project that aims to uncover why women are more likely to be impacted by AD and how to reduce that risk. She anticipates that the data from this study will provide evidence linking greater lifetime gender-based stressor exposures to poorer verbal memory in women at risk for AD, as well as processes likely to contribute to sex and gender disparities in the disease.

In an interview with NeurologyLive, Caldwell discussed the complexities in compiling relatively homogenous populations for AD clinical trials. She noted that while genetics can complicate these studies, they are crucial to understanding the true efficacy of investigational interventions.