Health Team

Trials can offer hope for Alzheimer's patients

Posted November 4, 2009 5:40 p.m. EST
Updated November 4, 2009 8:04 p.m. EST

— Jan and Don Anderson enjoy a very leisurely pace of life. Family photographs remind them of a busier time with four children and a career.

Five years ago, Don, then 73, started losing his memory. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

“Well, I’m not really doing the things that I really should do, but I can’t help it,” Don Anderson said.

Since her husband's diagnosis, Jan Anderson has been looking for clinical trials.

“It’s a good way to help other people – through trials – and also see if it will help him,” she said.

The Anderson's geriatric care manager, Lauren Watral, has been looking for trials for which Don Anderson may qualify.

She works through CARE-PAC, an organization formed by pharmaceutical companies to find trial participants.

The medical care offered through trials comes with great potential benefits, including working with experts in the field.

“They get a lot of TLC when they're treated. And it's important to know that all of that medical care they get, there's no charge,” Watral said.

Watral has found a trial that begins in January that may suit the Andersons.

It has renewed their hope.

“He said right after he really came down with the disease, he said, ‘I know they're going to find something to help me. I just know they are,’” Jan Anderson said.