A potential new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease is being tested on human patients for the first time. The idea, which has close ties to Connecticut, is different to every other approach currently on the market for this still-incurable disease.
A close-fitting blue fabric cap hides an array of antennae that provide a dose of radio waves to the brain. The device is controlled by a small box, worn on the patient’s arm.
“They get one hour of treatment in morning, one hour in the late afternoon -- at home,” said Arendash. “That gives you full-brain electromagnetic treatment. Our studies have shown, at least in Alzheimer’s mice, this will reverse or at least stop the Alzheimer’s process.”
Arendash’s company, Neuro-EM Therapeutics, collaborated with Connecticut inventor Eric Knight, CEO of Remarkable Technologies, on this novel approach to a disease that affects more than five million Americans.
“There’s nothing like this in the world,” Knight said. “We are taking an approach that’s non-pharmaceutical, we’re using an external device and radio waves. That’s a completely new method.”
Arendash’s work, which he’s published in scientific journals, has proved the method works in lab animals. But this is the first time it’s been tried in humans. Twelve patients have been recruited for the two-month trial at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute in Tampa, Florida.
Arendash said the basic idea at this stage is to prove to the satisfaction of the FDA that it’s safe.
“We’re hopeful of getting more than that though,” he said. “We’re hopeful of seeing cognitive performance being enhanced, brain activity being enhanced, or perhaps Alzheimer’s measures in the blood showing a beneficial profile. If we can see one or several of those we would be elated.”
Knight is a serial inventor who’s had all sorts of gadgets and devices patented. But this is the first time he’s worked on this kind of medical device.
“It’s rare to have an opportunity as an inventor, to have a chance to fundamentally change the health and wellbeing of people,” he said. “I can’t imagine being any more fulfilled.”
Arendash and Knight have garnered more than a million dollars in funding, a substantial amount of it from angel investors here in Connecticut, to develop the approach and carry out the trial.