Banner Good Samaritan awarded $33.2M for Alzheimer's research - Fox 2 News Headlines

Banner Good Samaritan Hospital awarded $33.2M for Alzheimer's research

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PHOENIX -

A federal grant for $33.2 million is heading to Phoenix and Banner Good Samaritan Hospital will use the funds for Alzheimer's prevention research.

Alzheimer's disease affects more than 5.2 million Americans with a new diagnosis every 68 seconds.  This $33.2 million grant is an opportunity for doctors to greatly reduce those numbers.

"I've seen it where they get angry.  They don't know who you are or they can forget you completely," said Rodney Shepard, a trial candidate.

Shepard watched his mother battle Alzheimer's and even forget his role in her life.

"It wasn't until about a minute later that it dawned on me that she thought I was my father who had passed away years ago," he said.

On Thursday morning, the 73-year-old signed up to be a part of the trial that will take place right here in Phoenix.

"Where we aim to test whether an experimental treatment could delay the emergence of symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in people who don't have any symptoms yet, but are at very high risk because of their age and genetic background," said Dr. Pierre Tariot, Director of Banner Alzheimer's Institute.

Dr. Tariot says researchers are looking for high risk candidates from across the country.

"If you happen to have one copy of that gene, your risk of getting Alzheimer's disease later in life while the age when you might get it if you have two copies of the gene -- your risk goes way up."

The study will focus on people who have two copies of that gene between 60 and 75 years old.  They'll try either a pill or immunization to prevent the onset of symptoms.  Shepard hopes if he qualifies, the trial will prevent his family from suffering the way he did.

"It's just one sided and there's nothing you can do about it and it's a thing that you don't want your family to experience that," he said.

If you or someone you know would like to become a part of this trial, go to endalznow.org.

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