Alzheimer's trial database finds takers in W. Florida

About a year after releasing a phone and Internet service to match patients with clinical trials, the Alzheimer's Association's TrialMatch database is getting plenty of use in along the west coast of Florida.

Recruiting and retaining patients in clinical trials--including those that involve treatments for Alzheimer's disease--has been a major challenge for drug developers. Now when scientific breakthroughs on the news motivate patients to call its offices, the Gulf Coast chapter of the Alzheimer's Association has a resource with TrialMatch to channel interested parties into trials, The Tampa Tribune reports.

Since TrialMatch's start across the country in summer 2010, the program has helped place 502 volunteers from west central Florida into local studies, according to the newspaper's article. The program's database began last year with nearly 100 trials involving Alzheimer's, mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Alzheimer's disease affects more than 5 million Americans, most of them older than 60. With its large elderly population, Florida is presumably a hot spot for the disease. And, according to the Tribune report, the state hosts many studies to test treatments for the memory-stealing illness.

"Even the drugs that fail, even the trials that fail tell us something," Dr. Margarita Nunez, medical director of Comprehensive Clinical Development, a St. Petersburg research center, told the newspaper. "When [trial participants] feel like they are contributing or doing something, it energizes them...That can mean so much."

- check out the Tribune's report