LifeNotes | Spring 2022
Hasbro Children's Hospital Major Renovations
Hasbro Children’s Hospital recently completed a sweeping three-year renovation initiative that modernized the facility and touched all eight floors of the hospital. Part of the $41.2 million Every Child, Every Day campaign, the project included improvements to patient rooms, nurse stations, elevator lobbies, the surgical services suite, and the intensive care unit.
“After 28 years, our spaces were simply dated,” said Keith Giacin, facilities project manager. “We were able to give the facilities a ‘facelift,’ with improvements such as attractive wood trim headwalls, monolithic flooring, new furniture, and updated color schemes, among many others.”
Giacin noted the work, performed by Dimeo Construction Company, remained on schedule and on budget despite the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project included the new Balise Healing Garden and reimagined playground outside the hospital's lower level, complete with new child-safe play equipment, sidewalks, and an amphitheater for performances. The Tomorrow Fund was expanded to include 50 percent more treatment space for infusion therapy.
In late March, the hospital capped off the renovations by installing a new aerial mobile designed by Jamestown-based contemporary sculptor Peter Diepenbrock in the main lobby atrium. Using the theme of ocean and shore, the piece contains over 150 colored discs meant to mimic light reflected through sea glass.
Separate renovations to the first floor—including improvements to corridors, elevators, lobbies, and the conference room—will begin in June.
RIH Cardiac Surgery Named Advanced Life Support Center of Excellence
The Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute cardiac surgery department at Rhode Island Hospital (RIH) is one of only four programs in New England in which staff completed specialized training to treat patients who suffer cardiac arrest following heart surgery. The Cardiac Surgery Advanced Life Support (CSU-ALS) Center of Excellence designation, which the team earned last fall, requires the program to be up and running for one year with at least 90 percent of staff having completed the training.
400,000 patients undergo cardiac surgery every year in the United States, and as many as 32,000 will have their procedure complicated by cardiac arrest. CSU-ALS is a formalized process shown to produce better outcomes for these patients.
The training involves a comprehensive educational platform including lectures, clinical scenarios supported by simulation software, a training platform that allows practice of the key elements of resternotomy, and e-learning modules. Employees must earn recertification every two years.
According to William Elias, PA, one of the team’s four “super users” leading the effort, the CSU-ALS protocols started with cardiac surgeons in Europe searching for a standardized, evidence-based method for managing cardiac arrest in post-operative patients specifically. “There were plenty of existing protocols for regular hospital admissions, but the situation can be very different for patients who acutely decompensate after open heart surgery,” said Elias.
CSU-ALS was officially rolled out in Europe in 2009, and in 2018 the Society of Thoracic Surgeons recommended that all units with a cardiac surgical program adopt the training. To date, roughly 80 RIH nurses, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners have completed the certification.
In the summer of 2021, a patient presented to The Miriam Hospital emergency department with intermittent chest pain and was identified to have multi-vessel coronary artery disease. After being transferred to RIH and undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting, they suffered worsening agitation and hemodynamic instability, eventually losing consciousness.
Staff immediately initiated the CSU-ALS protocol—the patient received advanced life support care, including breathing tube placement and medication. The patient’s chest was opened at the bedside, and they were able to be defibrillated out of a life-threatening arrhythmia and stabilized.
“These situations are relatively rare, but they do happen—this training is all about having an added level of preparedness,” said Elias. “We’re now better equipped to act quickly and help keep these patients alive.”
The Miriam Hospital Offering Therapy for Advanced Prostate Cancer
Xofigo—a treatment for men suffering from advanced prostate cancer—is available in Rhode Island exclusively from Lifespan Medical Imaging at The Miriam Hospital. Xofigo treats metastatic bone cancer, which occurs when cancer cells spread to the bones.
This treatment, administered over a course of six injections, is meant to both extend life and improve quality of life toward the end of a patient’s time.
“Many of our patients are living with pain levels of 10 out of 10 and are in a perpetual fog due to heavy doses of pain medicine like oxycodone,” said nuclear medicine lead technologist Paul Bavaro. “Thanks to this treatment, we’ve had patients who are able to step down from serious narcotics to Advil.”
The nuclear medicine division of diagnostic imaging provides a full range of clinically focused diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
Bavaro related a story in which a patient who received Xofigo was so thankful to simply be able to enjoy a bike ride with his wife after barely being able to walk. “It allows these men to move through their last days more clearly and with dignity.”
Bayer, the drug’s manufacturer, is working to release a new protocol to help providers better determine where to use Xofigo in a patient’s course of treatment. The drug has historically been used after more typical interventions such as chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapy have run their course, but seven years of data shows that using it earlier on in the process can be beneficial—depending on the patient’s condition and treatment plan.
For more information about Xofigo, reach out to Don C. Yoo, MD, director of nuclear medicine at Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals, at firstname.lastname@example.org. To refer patients for this treatment, please contact the Division of Nuclear Medicine at 401-793-4672.
Lifespan Rehab Uses Cutting-Edge Gait Training Technology
Lifespan Rehabilitation Services is the only provider in Rhode Island using two innovative platforms designed to help patients strengthen gait, improve walking, and decrease the risk of falls.
GaitBetter is a virtual realty walking platform that uses a harness system and treadmill to simulate real-world obstacles and significantly improve dynamic balance, endurance, and cognitive functioning. Available at Lifespan’s Allens Avenue and Collyer Street locations in Providence, as well as the Newport Hospital Vanderbilt Rehabilitation Center, GaitBetter was developed by neuroscientists and has proven to be twice as effective as standard treadmill training.
“GaitBetter has been a great tool for helping my patients with ‘dual tasking,’” said Lifespan physical therapist Elizabeth Breen. “For those having a hard time moving and talking simultaneously or keeping track of where they’re going, the platform provides a safe, effective way to practice.”
The technology is used for a wide range of conditions that can negatively affect gait, including:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Joint replacement side effects
- Traumatic brain injury
Lifespan Rehabilitation Services also has access to the Aretech® ZeroG through the Center for Innovative Neurotechnology for Neural Repair partnership with Brown University. ZeroG is a robotic body weight support system attached to an overhead track that allows patients to practice a wide range of activities with no risk of falling.
“The ZeroG system really gives patients suffering from more advanced movement issues the confidence to go further than they would in a regular physical therapy session,” said Breen.
Lifespan Surgeon Performs State's First Robot-Assisted Whipple Procedure in the State
Subhashini Ayloo, MD, MPH, FACS, chief of hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery at Rhode Island Hospital, is at the forefront of minimally invasive surgical technology. Last October, she was the first surgeon in Rhode Island to perform a robot-assisted Whipple procedure, used to treat lesions and other disorders of the head of the pancreas, intestine, and bile duct.
“The Whipple is one of our more complex procedures, and involves removing sections of the pancreas, bile duct, and duodenum, and then reconstructing it all,” said Dr. Ayloo.
While the surgery has been performed for decades with the “open” approach, or a large incision on the abdomen, surgeons like Ayloo now use smaller “band aid” incisions combined with robotic arms that efficiently replicate the actions of human hands.
This minimally invasive approach results in reduced risk of wound complications, decreased blood loss, and a faster, less painful recovery.
Dr. Ayloo noted that the benefits go beyond the surgery itself. “An easier recovery means patients can more quickly move to the next step in their cancer treatment, whether it’s chemo, radiation, or other therapies,” she said. “This can lead to better outcomes overall.”
Dr. Ayloo employs similar techniques for surgeries to remove bile duct lesions, liver tumors, and other gastrointestinal cancers.
She joined Lifespan in January 2021 but has performed minimally invasive surgeries for almost 20 years, beginning after she completed a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University and an additional fellowship in Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic surgery and Liver Transplantation, synergizing the best of both fields.
“A cancer diagnosis is heartbreaking, and for most people the experience of finding the right care, setting up appointments, and looking into the research is tedious and scary—especially for those without a medical background,” said Dr. Ayloo. “If these procedures can make the process even a little bit smoother and more bearable, I think it’s more than worth it for our patients.”
Lifespan Leads Rhode Island Treatment of Complex Hernias
The new comprehensive hernia center, a partnership with Brown Surgical Associates, is the state’s only provider of world-class surgical treatment for complex hernias.
“We treat the whole spectrum of hernias, from the simple ones—such as umbilical, ventral, inguinal, and hiatal—to the more complex cases such as incisional or stomal hernias,” said Marcoandrea Giorgi, MD, who performs many of the surgeries along with Andrew R. Luhrs, MD.
The procedures, performed at The Miriam and Rhode Island hospitals, employ modern, minimally invasive techniques that deliver patients a better hernia repair with shorter hospital stays, reduced use of narcotics, and faster recovery times. From an aesthetic standpoint, the incisions themselves are smaller and less prominent.
The full range of services include:
- Advanced abdominal wall reconstruction
- Robotic approaches to hernia repair
- Use of synthetic and biologic mesh
- Advanced techniques to optimize defect closure
“It’s very common for us to see patients who were told by other providers that their hernia couldn’t be treated, or that the surgery would involve a long hospital stay or carry a high risk of complications,” said Dr. Giorgi. “In some cases, procedures that 10 years ago required five days in the hospital can now be performed with a same day discharge.”
The center also works with Lifespan obesity medicine and bariatric surgery specialists to ensure that patients who suffer from obesity have the support they need before and after surgery.
Newport Hospital Adds 3D Mammography Units
Late last year, Lifespan Medical Imaging (LMI) added three new mammography units at its Newport Hospital (NH) and Portsmouth locations. The state-of-the-art units made by Hologic use a pure tomosynthesis platform and align LMI with the highest standards in the breast imaging field, deliver the best possible image quality, and result in a quicker exam and more accurate readings for patients, according to Christopher Monteiro, BS, RT(R)(MR)(N), director of imaging at Newport Hospital and director of radiology information systems for Lifespan.
“In a limited way, 3D tomosynthesis is essentially like having a CT scan of the breast—instead of a static 2D image, we can view 3D ‘slices’ that go through the breast,” said Monteiro. “These machines also have a ‘smart slices’ feature that detects and displays the important sections, helping the radiologist work more efficiently.”
The new mammography units allow for full interoperability between the Newport practices and other imaging centers across the system, like the Anne C. Pappas Center for Breast Imaging and The Miriam Hospital, which already use the machines.
This summer, the Portsmouth practice will add a 1.2 Tesla open MRI—a major relief for patients who suffer from claustrophobia—as well as a new state-of-the-art 64-slice CT scanner that will offer quicker scans for patients, reduced radiation, and high image quality.
Another boost to the program came in January of 2022, when NH’s radiology provider, Aquidneck Radiologists, joined Rhode Island Medical Imaging, expanding capacity through access to a larger panel of subspecialized radiologists.
Last year, Newport Hospital was designated a Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology, setting it apart from all other hospitals in the state.
Bradley Hospital Introduces Mindcast Podcast
In late 2021, Bradley Hospital launched the only podcast for parents produced by a children’s psychiatric hospital in the United States to focus on children’s mental health. Each episode of Mindcast: Healthy Mind, Healthy Child features a Bradley Hospital staff member and explores relevant behavioral trends and topics through an informative and entertaining format.
Anne Walters, PhD, ABPP, clinical director, children's partial hospital program, and Gregory Fritz, MD, former academic director of Bradley Hospital and past director of the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center, serve as podcast co-hosts.
Recent episodes include:
- Supporting Children with Incarcerated Parents – featuring Margaret Paccione, PhD
- Diagnosis: ADHD. Now What? – featuring Brian Kavanaugh, PsyD
- Talking to Kids about Grief and Loss – featuring Mary Sullivan, PhD
“While our staff provides a full continuum of care to our young patients daily, Mindcast amplifies their expertise and insight ‘on-demand,’” said Henry Sachs, MD, president, Bradley Hospital. “Entering the podcast realm is another way for Bradley Hospital to increase recognition of our quality pediatric mental healthcare, advance our reputation as a national leader in research and education, and showcase the expertise of our phenomenal medical professionals and staff.”
Listeners can download or stream Mindcast on the Lifespan website or search for it via Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google podcasts, Stitcher, and other popular podcast listening platforms.
New Gateway Program Treats First Episode Psychosis
Gateway Healthcare recently launched Healthy Transitions, a program that assists youth and young adults ages 16 to 25 in Pawtucket and Central Falls who are experiencing first episode psychosis (FEP). FEP refers to the first time an individual experiences psychosis, which typically begins during late adolescence/early adulthood and is characterized by symptoms such as disorganized thinking and speech, increased confusion, social isolation, and hallucinations.
Healthy Transitions employs coordinated specialty care, a team-based, wraparound approach that seeks to ease the transition to adulthood and help patients manage their symptoms in a way that works with their lifestyle.
Healthy Transitions services include:
- Medication management
- Mental health counseling
- Education and employment support
- Substance use treatment
- Referrals to other resources such as vocational rehabilitation and community support
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 100,000 adolescents and young adults experience FEP every year. Psychosis is treatable, and early interventions increase the chances of a successful recovery.
Gateway is also collaborating with Bradley Hospital to expand this treatment to younger adolescents who are at high risk for developing psychosis.
Endoscopy Renovations at The Miriam Hospital Allow For More Seamless Care
Recent updates to The Miriam Hospital endoscopy unit allow for greater patient volume, expanded procedure offerings, and an improved experience for patients and staff alike.
The first phase of the renovations, completed in September 2021, included the addition of 12 integrated pre/post procedure rooms. This doubled the department’s previous capacity and has allowed endoscopy staff to care for their patients throughout all phases of the procedures.
Endoscopy staff now manage both preprocedural tasks—including medical history, allergies, and patient education—as well as post procedure processes like ensuring patients meet discharge criteria, all in one suite. Previously, patients under anesthesia had to be transported from the endoscopy unit to another part of the hospital for recovery and were then cared for by a different care team.
The next phase of renovations, slated for completion this May, includes a fifth procedure room with the capability for advanced procedures and use of fluoroscopy, currently performed in a different area of the hospital and shared with another department. This change will increase capacity for advanced procedures and improve efficiency of unit operations.
Information for patients to Lifespan Endoscopy and Colonoscopy Services.
The last phase of the renovation will include a new endoscope reprocessing room, new supply rooms, and staff work space improvements.
The program offers gastroenterology and colorectal procedures including colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound, and ERCPs (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography), as well as pulmonary procedures such as bronchoscopy and endoscopic bronchial ultrasound.
According to endoscopy lead RN Robin Ford, the new setup is ideal from both a safety and continuity of care standpoint. “From start to finish, we can now provide our patients with assurances on the specifics of every procedure—who they will work with, and where it will all take place.”
Bradley Hospital to Launch Latinx Mental Health Program
This summer, Bradley Hospital will open an outpatient program under the clinical supervision of child and family psychologist Yovanska Duarte Velez, PhD, designed to meet the unique needs of Latinx youth between 12 and 21 years old. The evidence-based, culturally centered program will provide services in Spanish and treat patients suffering from issues such as depression, suicidal ideation, and trauma.
The program will have a duration of three to six months and will explore a new model of collaborative care—community health workers from the Latinx community will be embedded into the program, helping staff to educate families about mental health topics and the latest treatments.
According to Dr. Duarte Velez, the program will also provide a safe and affirming space for Latinx LGBTQ+ youth or those questioning their sexual orientation or gender.
“I think that the demand for these culturally-sensitive services is enormous,” said Dr. Duarte Velez. “Many Latinx teens first access services only after a suicide attempt results in an emergency room visit. I believe we can prevent this with better, more accessible treatment options—and the first route to accessibility is being able to provide the services in Spanish when needed.”
An experienced researcher, Dr. Duarte Velez began her clinical work in Puerto Rico before moving to Rhode Island eight years ago. She used her training in cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy to develop the socio-cognitive behavioral therapy for Latinx youth with suicidal behaviors (SCBT-SB). Her method was shown to be a promising treatment for depression and suicidal behaviors in a pilot randomized clinical trial and is currently being tested in a randomized clinical trial.
This program is expected to start in August. To learn more, contact Dr. Duarte Velez at Yovanska.Duart-Velez@Lifespan.org.
Lifespan Pharmacy Offers COVID-19 Antivirals
At the forefront of an ever-changing COVID landscape, Lifespan Pharmacy is now offering two new oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19. Paxlovid and molnupiravir were developed by Pfizer and Merck, respectively, to prevent high-risk patients from becoming severely ill after infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Although the drugs function differently, both halt the viral replication process—reducing both a person’s viral load and the severity of their symptoms.
Because of their limited availability, these medications are currently being managed by the federal government and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and are only available at a select number of retail pharmacies and other health partners.
“Prior to Lifespan Pharmacy carrying these products, providers had to search the state for a participating pharmacy and verify that they had the product in stock, causing inconvenience and possible delays in care,” said Vincent Salerno, PharmD, manager of retail pharmacy services. “As a part of a health system, we are uniquely positioned to provide greater continuity of care for patients who are being seen and treated for COVID by a Lifespan provider.”
Participation in this program requires each pharmacy to be registered with the RIDOH and comes with daily reporting and digital tracking requirements.
Lincoln Pediatrics Associates Joins Lifespan Physician Group
Lincoln Pediatrics Associates recently joined Lifespan Physician Group (LPG), making it the first primary care pediatric practice within LPG. The Lincoln Pediatrics team will continue to see patients at both their Lincoln, Rhode Island and North Attleboro, Massachusetts offices.
“Lincoln Pediatrics is excited to become part of the Lifespan Physician Group family. LPG will give us the tools and resources we need to continue to provide the excellent care our patients and their families have come to expect,” said Thomas P. Hines, MD, who has been with Lincoln Pediatrics since 1996. “We bring to LPG the experience of being a successful pediatric practice over the past 30 years.”
Lincoln Pediatrics is located at 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 306-B in Lincoln and 465 South Washington Street, Unit 4 in North Attleboro.
Visit the Lifespan Physician Group Pediatric Primary Care website for hours, phone numbers, and referral information.
LPG Primary Care Adds Warwick Practice
Last month, Lifespan Physician Group Primary Care Warwick moved into a new location at 501 Centerville Road, Suite 101, in Warwick.
Under the direction of providers Douglas Foreman, DO, and nurse practitioner Jennifer Allen, MSN, FNP-BC, the practice provides patients with services such as:
- Diagnosis and treatment of major and minor illnesses
- Long-term management of chronic conditions
- Annual exams
- Preventive screenings
- Coordination of specialty care
Arnaldo Berges, MD, Named Assistant Chief of Psychiatry at Rhode Island Hospital
Arnaldo Berges, MD, has been named assistant chief of psychiatry at Rhode Island Hospital. He joined the hospital in 2009, and will continue as division director adult inpatient psychiatry, a position he has held since 2018.
Dr. Berges, also clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, specializes in gay and lesbian issues, persistent mental illness, and cross-cultural issues. He has worked extensively in both clinical care and administration and was instrumental in Lifespan’s transition to LifeChart and its implementation in behavioral health. He has been actively involved with Lifespan committees including the Rhode Island Hospital incident command committee, the adult psychiatry clinical operations committee, the Physicians Informatics Council, and the Lifespan Adult Psychiatry Quality Committee.
Dr. Berges’s research interests include mood stabilization and maintenance of seizure control, delirium and dementia, chronic schizophrenia, and severe Parkinsonism, and his work on these subjects has been published in peer-reviewed journals. He is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists, and the Rhode Island Psychiatric Society.
Laura Stanton, MD, Named Assistant Chief of Psychiatry at The Miriam Hospital
Laura Stanton, MD, had been named assistant chief of psychiatry at The Miriam Hospital. In her new role, Dr. Stanton, also director of adult psychiatry integrated care, will continue to oversee integrated care initiatives, the geriatric psychiatry fellowship program, and the outpatient geriatric psychiatry program. Her mission is to combat stigma by coordinating and building integrated behavioral health programs in medical settings, such as primary care and specialty care offices.
With over a decade of experience at Lifespan, Dr. Stanton is a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and additionally evaluates and treats geriatric patients at the Lifespan Cancer Institute.
Dr. Stanton has published peer-reviewed work on subjects like depression and the aging brain, nursing home violence, and psychosis in the elderly. She is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry, and the Rhode Island Psychiatric Society.
Ghada Bourjeily, MD, FCCP, Named Associate Chief of Research and Academic Advancement for Women’s Services
Ghada Bourjeily, MD, FCCP, has been appointed to the new position of associate chief of research and academic advancement for women’s services. An attending physician in pulmonary services and obstetric medicine, she also serves as director of research and training at the Women’s Medicine Collaborative (WMC) and professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
Dr. Bourjeily recently started an academic mentoring group at the WMC to help faculty identify and reach their academic goals—as part of the new role, she will expand this program to include annual mentoring committee meetings, enhanced support for ideas and projects, and increased access to resources in the research division.
Dr. Bourjeily has worked at the Women’s Medicine Collaborative since its opening in 2011. Her research focuses on the manifestations of sleep-disordered breathing in pregnant women and the impact of these conditions on pregnancy and neonatal outcomes, including cardiovascular and metabolic outcomes during pregnancy. Her research has been funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
James Appleton, DPM, FACFAS
Podiatrist James Appleton, DPM, FACFAS, recently joined the Vanderbilt Wound Care Center at Newport Hospital.
Jose Arauz, PhD
Jose Arauz, PhD, is a psychologist who recently joined Lifespan outpatient psychiatry and behavioral health and the Latinx mental health program.
Bryce A. Basques, MD
Spine surgeon Bryce Basques, MD, joined the Center for Spine Health at University Orthopedics.
Eric Goldstein, MD
Eric Goldstein, MD, is a vascular neurologist who recently joined the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Rhode Island Hospital.
Galina Grigoriev Lagos, MD
Hematologist-oncologist Galina Lagos, MD, joined the Lifespan Cancer Institute.
Kyle Nuland, MD
Total Joint Surgeon
Kyle Nuland, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon who recently joined the Lifespan Orthopedic Institute.
Bethany Rallis, PhD, LCP
Director, Adult Partial Hospital Program, Newport Hospital
Psychologist Bethany Rallis, PhD, LCP, recently joined the Newport Hospital adult partial hospital program and Newport Psychiatry.
Matthew Reuter, MD
Matthew Reuter, MD, is a physiatrist who recently joined Newport Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Sherry Xiaoyu Yan, MD
Sherry Yan, MD, is a radiation oncologist who recently joined the Lifespan Cancer Institute.
Eric Tai-Lee Wong, MD
Lifespan Enrolling Patients in Kidney Stone Clinical Trial
Lifespan is now enrolling patients in a trial evaluating NOV-001, a study drug designed to treat kidney stones specifically caused by enteric hyperoxaluria (EH), or an over-absorption of oxalate from foods that increase the amount of oxalate excreted in the urine.
InNOVate, a stage two clinical trial, is designed for patients with a diagnosis of EH following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery—the changes to the stomach and small intestine after surgery are thought to increase the chances of EH.
The trial is part of Lifespan’s new Innovation Center for Urologic Research and Education (iCURE) with Brown University, a unique partnership that brings together surgeons, industry leaders, and scientists to create solutions that put the urology patient front and center in their care. The center’s wide-ranging initiatives include clinical research, scientific bench research, product development, and advocacy.
To enroll a patient or learn more about InNOVate, email Christopher Tucci, MS, RN-BC, CURN, NE-BC, FAUNA, manager of The Miriam Hospital Minimally Invasive Urology Institute, at CTucci@Lifespan.org.
Alzheimer’s Trial Now Seeking Participants
The Rhode Island Hospital Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center is participating in a national multi-site clinical trial testing an investigational drug for people with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or mild probable AD.
Funded by the National Institute of Aging and sponsored by Vivoryon Therapeutics, the VIVA-MIND clinical trial is evaluating whether the investigational oral drug varoglutamstat (PQ912) can slow down or stop progression of AD. Varoglutamstat aims to reduce N3pE, a toxic form of the amyloid protein that accumulates in the brains of people suffering from AD.
“We hope this drug truly makes a difference in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Jonathan Drake, MD, the center’s associate director and site principal investigator for the VIVA-MIND study. “By slowing the disease in the early stage, it may be possible to stop this toxic protein before it can cause additional damage.”
Last December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted varoglutamstat “fast track” status, designed to expedite the review of drugs with the potential to treat serious conditions and fill an unmet medical need.
To be eligible for the study, patients must:
- Be 50 to 89 years old
- Have a diagnosis of MCI due to AD or mild probable AD
- Be taking at least one medication for the treatment of AD symptoms
- Have a study partner who can attend some study visits and answer questions about the participant’s symptoms
To refer a patient or learn more about the VIVA-MIND trial, contact the Rhode Island Hospital Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center at 1-844-563-6679 (1-844-5MEMORY) or email email@example.com.