Pilot Study to Investigate the Safety and Feasibility of AntiRetroviral Therapy for Alzheimer's Disease (ART-AD)

  • End date
    Jun 1, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Bess Frost, PhD
Updated on 27 April 2022
mini-mental state examination
mental state examination


The objective of the study is to evaluate the ability of (-)-L-2',3'-dideoxy-3'-thiacytidine (3TC) to engage its intended target, penetrate the central nervous system (CNS), suppress neurodegeneration, and assess safety and tolerability in patients with early stage Alzheimer's disease. This study will provide the initial data on target engagement and Alzheimer's disease-relevant outcomes for future trials.


This open label study of 3TC will collect initial proof-of-concept data on 3TC target engagement, CNS penetration, efficacy and safety in older adults with early stage Alzheimer's disease. If successful, data will be used to design a larger phase 2 clinical trial. The investigators aim to I) Quantify 3TC target engagement and CNS penetration, II) Determine if 3TC suppresses Alzheimer's disease-relevant outcomes, and III) Assess the safety and tolerability of 3TC in older individuals with early Alzheimer's disease. The study will consist of a screening/baseline period of 30 days pre-treatment, a 24-week open label treatment period, and a follow up visit one month following treatment. Visits to the clinic include a pre-treatment screening visit that includes a comprehensive neuropsychological exam, a tablet-based neuropsychological exam, and a blood draw. For eligible participants, a lumbar puncture will be performed on day one of treatment. Participants will visit the clinic on day one of treatment and at weeks 8, 16, and 24 of treatment to complete medication checks, physical examinations, tablet-based cognitive screening, and blood draw. At week 24 of treatment, patients will undergo a post-treatment comprehensive neuropsychological exam, a lumbar puncture to collect cerebrospinal fluid, and a blood draw. One month after the final dose of medication, participants will return to the clinic for a final safety assessment and disenrollment.

Condition Alzheimer Disease, Early Onset
Treatment 3TC
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04552795
SponsorBess Frost, PhD
Last Modified on27 April 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Aged 50-99 years
Clinical diagnosis of early Alzheimer's disease (Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) = 0.5, Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) = 24-30)
If using drugs to treat symptoms related to Alzheimer's disease, doses must be stable for at least eight weeks prior to screening visit 1
Labs: Adequate blood cell counts (white blood cells: 4,000-111,000 cells per microliter (cells/mcL); absolute neutrophil count: 1,800-8,700 cells/mcL; platelets: 120-500 K/µL; hemoglobin 12.0-17.5 grams/dL); LFT's within 2x normal value; creatinine clearance test (CrCl) ≥ 50 mL/min; cholesterol (≤260 mg/dl), triglycerides≤ 400 mg/dl), and glucose control (HbA1c ≤ 8%). Prothrombin time/partial thromboplastin time/international normalized ratio (PT/PTT/INR) within normal limits
Body mass index (BMI) within range of 19 - 35 kg/m2
Must have a reliable informant or caregiver
Participants must have no plans to travel that interfere with study visits

Exclusion Criteria

Any medical or neurologic condition (other than Alzheimer's Disease) that might be a contributing cause of the subject's cognitive impairment
Clinically significant unstable psychiatric illness in the past six months
Significant hearing, vision, or motor deficits that interfere with participation
Alcohol or drug abuse/dependence in the past six months
Stroke, transient ischemic attack, or unexplained loss of consciousness in the past six months
Unstable angina, myocardial infarction, advanced chronic heart failure, or clinically significant conduction abnormalities within the past six months
Relevant brain hemorrhage, bleeding disorder and cerebrovascular abnormalities
Diagnosis of HIV infection or AIDS (CD4 count < 200), HIV/Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) co-infection, HBV or human T-cell leukemia virus infection
History of impaired renal or liver function
Current use of memantine or sorbitol-containing products
Individuals with HIV, HBV, or who have current/previous use of Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs) or non-NRTIs
Poorly controlled blood pressure (BP) (systolic BP > 160, diastolic BP > 90 mmHg)
Uncontrolled diabetes (HbA1c > 8%, or the current use of insulin)
Significant systematic illness or infection in the past 30 days
Pregnant women
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If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

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