The Alzheimer’s Association estimates 5.7 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and one barrier to creating lifesaving therapies has been transporting volunteers, who often can’t drive, to downtown Indianapolis for clinical trials.
Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation is working to change that. It is partnering with ride-sharing service Lyft to offer free transportation to trial participants in Indianapolis and surrounding areas, including Zionsville and Carmel.
“If you ask anybody who is considering participating in a clinical trial and learning more about their own memory, one of the top three reasons they decline to do it is the aggravation of transportation,” said John Dwyer, president of GAP.
The rides will transport patients to the Indiana University School of Medicine in downtown Indianapolis to participate in the Trailblazer clinical trial. IUSM and Eli Lilly researchers are testing a combination therapy designed to attack amyloid plaque, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, in the brain.
“Potential participants might be older and don’t drive alone,” Dwyer said. “They don’t want to inconvenience their loved one or caregiver. If they could have a car pick them up and drop them off, that would make them feel a lot better about joining a clinical trial.”
The downtown Indianapolis location of IUSM can intimidate potential participants because of anxiety about navigating the interstate system.
“We have what’s called an online dashboard that we manage for our participants,” said Christina Brown, IUSM clinical research manager. “Our study volunteers don’t have to have a smartphone or know how to order a ride. They created a way for my team to register a participant and order their ride.”
Dwyer wants local residents to know GAP supports each clinical trial participant.
“It’s important that people in Carmel and Indianapolis feel excited and comfortable to participate in clinical trials down at IU,” Dwyer said. “There is a huge need. We will find a therapy if people enroll in trials. The first person cured of Alzheimer’s will be in a clinical trial.”
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