Hoag’s Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute Opens Clinical Trial for Drug that Aims to Slow Alzheimer’s

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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., July 8, 2021 — Hoag’s Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute is enrolling patients in the Phase III clinical trial, TRAILBLAZER-ALZ 2, which investigates the efficacy and safety of an investigational treatment aimed at the early symptom phase of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

The investigational treatment targets and removes deposited amyloid plaque, which is one of the two signature markers of AD in the brain. The Phase II trial found that patients who received the treatment scored better on tests of cognition and ability to perform daily activities than those given a placebo. Researchers also found significant decrease in both amyloid and tau, the other markers of AD, on PET scans in patients who received the investigational treatment.

“This is a milestone study that speaks to the potential for long-term disease modification,” said Gustavo Alva, M.D., DFAPA, a psychiatrist expert in cognition, who recently joined Hoag and is the principal investigator of the study. “This is a critical investigational treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, and we are excited that our patients can potentially participate in this important research.”

This Phase III, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study aims to validate the early evidence that removal of amyloid plaque slows progression of AD measured by clinical, cognitive and functional outcomes in a larger population. This study will also expand previous Phase II trial to include patients with high tau pathology.

“It was encouraging to see the significant reduction in plaque and the slowing of cognitive decline, especially because Hoag was also a study site in the earlier Phase II trial. This suggests that amyloid and tau imaging could serve as the foundation for precision medicine-based Alzheimer’s disease treatments,” said Michael Brant-Zawadzki, M.D., F.A.C.R., Hoag’s senior physician executive and the Ron & Sandi Simon Executive Medical Director Endowed Chair of Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute. “We are very excited to be a part of this Phase III study, which marks a huge step forward in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease.”

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than six million Americans. Without medical breakthroughs to prevent, slow or cure the disease, that number is expected to increase to 13.8 million by 2060.

“As our population ages, successful, viable treatments for Alzheimer’s disease become more important every year,” Dr. Alva said. “At Hoag we are proud to participate in the discovery and development of significant tools to change the trajectory of this debilitating disease.”

For more information on the study and the study participation, please email clinicalresearch@hoag.org.


Compassionate Care, Clinical Excellence, Creative Intelligence

Hoag and Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute were ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the No. 1 hospital in Orange County and No. 27 nationally in Neurology & Neurosurgery, placing it in the top 1% of neuro-specialist programs across the U.S., and the only one in the top 30 without a formal university residency curriculum. Delivering a personalized, integrated approach using best-practice guidelines, the most advanced technology, and integration of medical specialists in the most appropriate facilities, the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute (PFNI) at Hoag provides world class care for patients with specific conditions of the brain and spine such as stroke, aneurysms and vascular malformations, brain tumors, epilepsy, movement disorders, memory and cognitive disorders, pain, minimally invasive spine surgery, multiple sclerosis, addiction medicine and sleep disorders, as well as the mind-body interface of mental health. Many of Hoag’s PFNI programs have received high acclaim.The Hoag Stroke Program was the first in Orange County and the second in California to be named a Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center by DNV GL Healthcare and was awarded the American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement for stroke care. And as one of the first centers in the U.S. to offer the most advanced radiosurgical treatment system available, Leksell Gamma Knife® Perfexion™, the PFNI brain tumor program is the largest in Orange County and is also among the top volume programs in the western United States. Hoag has been recognized as a designated Level 4 Comprehensive Epilepsy Center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. The PFNI’s memory and cognitive disorders program is nationally recognized.


Hoag is a nonprofit, regional health care delivery network in Orange County, California, that treats more than 30,000 inpatients and 480,000 outpatients annually. Hoag consists of two acute-care hospitals – Hoag Hospital Newport Beach, which opened in 1952, and Hoag Hospital Irvine, which opened in 2010 – in addition to nine health centers and 13 urgent care centers. Hoag has invested $261 million in programs and services to support the underserved community within the past five years, including areas like mental health, homelessness, transportation for seniors, education, and support for single mothers. Hoag is a designated Magnet® hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Hoag offers a comprehensive blend of health care services that includes five institutes providing specialized services in the following areas: cancerheart and vascularneuroscienceswomen’s health, and orthopedics through Hoag’s affiliate, Hoag Orthopedic Institutewhich consists of an orthopedic hospital and two ambulatory surgical centers. In the 2020 – 2021 U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals Rankings, Hoag is the highest ranked hospital in Orange County and the only OC hospital ranked in the Top 10 in California. For an unprecedented 23 years, residents of Orange County have chosen Hoag as one of the county’s best hospitals in a local newspaper survey. Visit www.hoag.org for more information.