We've heard it called the long goodbye. I can only imagine how painful it is to have your parents go through the slow decline of dementia, their memories lost to Alzheimer's to the point they don't even know who you are.

If you have a parent or grandparent with mild to moderate Alzheimer's you should know there's a possible breakthrough being worked on. A new drug that is being called very promising is being developed by Seattle-based biotech company Athira Pharma.

It's been almost 20 years since the last drug to treat Alzheimer's was approved by the FDA. Dr. Jeffrey T. Apter of the Princeton Medical Institute says he's a huge skeptic on most drugs currently in development, but not this one.

"Athira has something very unique; it's not like anything else in the pipeline," he told nj.com. "We need a fresh approach and I think this is very exciting."

The drugs that came before were designed to go after beta amyloid plaque that affects the brain in Alzheimer's patients. But it has had only limited success. This new prospect does something completely different and has already shown promise in the first phase of a clinical trial.

The drug is meant to trigger an enzyme that should repair cell damage and strengthen brain cell connectivity. There's already some evidence that it can not only potentially arrest the degeneration but actually repair the brain.

Why does Jersey care?

Apter's Princeton Medical Institute is the only facility in the state of New Jersey accepted into part of the clinical trials, and they're looking for volunteers. Patients have to be between 55 and 85 years old and have mild to moderate Alzheimer's. It's a six month trial that involves receiving the drug through a daily injection.

If you or someone you know would like to be considered for the study you'll find information on Princeton Medical Institute's website. Or you can call 609-921-6050. Dr. Apter can only enroll about 20 patients so if you're interested you should do it asap.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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