Roche Announces Clinical Trials for Down Syndrome Therapy Drug

Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation Hails Milestone, Encourages Families to Enroll

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Roche's commitment to this clinical trial signifies that Down syndrome is now moving into the mainstream for development of new therapies.

Palo Alto, CA (PRWEB) September 09, 2011

Roche announced today that it will begin early stage clinical trials to investigate the safety and tolerability of a drug designed to address the cognitive and behavioral deficits, including learning, memory and speech, in individuals with Down syndrome. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is considered a leader in research-focused healthcare and the world’s largest biotech firm.

“This is a very exciting advance in the field of Down syndrome cognition research,” says Dr. Michael Harpold, DSRTF’s Chief Scientific Officer and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board. “One of the major goals of DSRTF has been to identify and support the most promising fundamental and translational research through engagement with pharmaceutical companies and clinical trials, so that we can develop safe new therapies that will improve cognition, in children and adults with Down syndrome. Today, we are seeing years of hard work and dialogue between industry executives, scientists and families come to fruition.”

The first phase of clinical trials targets adults between 18 and 30 years old, and will recruit up to 33 individuals from multiple clinics within the United States. As suggested in the Roche release there is good reason to be optimistic about the prospects for expanding the scope of trials in the future. DSRTF’s role in advancing research together with its work with Roche has significantly contributed to the development of this important new clinical trial.

“Roche is pioneering a commitment to neurodevelopmental disorders, including Down syndrome,” says DSRTF’s Executive Director Chris Rose. “That’s significant because even as recently as the past several years, many in the Down syndrome community, including researchers and clinicians, expressed concern that no major pharmaceutical company would ever be interested in developing a new drug to improve cognition in individuals with Down syndrome. I believe Roche’s commitment to this clinical trial signifies that Down syndrome is now moving into the mainstream for development of new therapies.”

DSRTF encourages individuals and families who are interested in enrolling in or learning more about these clinical trials to visit http://www.rochetrials.com/.

About the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation:
The Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation (DSRTF) is a national non-profit organization headquartered in Palo Alto, California, aimed at accelerating the development of treatments to significantly improve cognition, including memory, learning and speech, for individuals with Down syndrome. DSRTF funds research at major research centers, including Johns Hopkins Medical Center, Stanford University, University of San Diego, and University of Arizona. Since its founding in 2004, DSRTF has committed more than $8 million to fund results-driven research programs that will benefit children and adults with Down syndrome.

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