Extraordinary Team Blog

Alzheimer’s Research Participation

Posted by Kristin Arnold on May 27, 2008

I am very proud of my Dad and Mom. Mom (Mary Ann Wahlner) just forwarded an article from the Alzheimer’s Research Forum about their participation in a clinical drug trial.

“Each day for one and a half years, 78-year-old Alan Wahlner popped four pink pills—two in the morning, two in the evening. Diagnosed with Alzheimer disease in early 2004, he was hoping the tablets were Flurizan, an investigational treatment for mild AD developed by Myriad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The retired Hughes Aircraft purchasing agent was participating in Phase 3 clinical trials of the small-molecule compound at the University of California, Irvine—a 40-minute drive from his home.

Wahlner will never know whether he had gotten Flurizan or placebo pills throughout the 18-month trial that ended in late 2007. Yet he and his wife, Mary Ann, dutifully participated in what many hope is the final stage of testing for the Myriad drug thought to work by reducing levels of Aβ42 peptide. Before enrolling in the trial, the Wahlners signed an agreement stating they would not find out what was in the pills they took home. “That’s why most Alzheimer’s patients I know don’t participate—they don’t want to have the placebo,” said Mary Ann, 75, a retired research manager for California’s Employment Development Department. “My response is, how are you ever going to know if a drug actually works if you don’t have in the trials people who are not taking it? I understand the process and rationale behind double-blind studies, and I’m willing to be one of the participants.”

Bravo, Mom and Dad! You volunteered because it’s the right thing to do….not just for Dad, but for all the other Alzheimer’s patients who will benefit from the knowledge gleaned from the trials.

Question: Do you volunteer to do things for the greater good of the team, community or even the world?