Two RSF Research and Innovation Center Patients Honored as Citizen Scientist Award Nominees

Two RSF Research and Innovation Center patients have been honored as nominees for the Citizen Scientist Award celebrating Alzheimer’s disease clinical trial participants.

Wayne Vereen and Sharon Fratepietro have been clinical trial volunteer patients at the RSF Research and Innovation Center for more than four years, and during that time, they’ve received monthly infusions on site. Researchers rely on volunteers to help find a cure.

Dr. Jacobo Mintzer and his research team nominated Wayne and Sharon because of their extraordinary commitment to Alzheimer’s research, and the sacrifices they have each made to be part of the quest to find a cure.

Wayne and his wife travel 2 hours from their home in Murrells Inlet every month, with sweets from their favorite bakery in hand to share with the staff. His father suffered from Alzheimer’s and eventually succumbed to the disease. Volunteering for Alzheimer’s research has been his way to hopefully save another family from experiencing the heartbreak that they went through in losing his father.

Sharon has made it her personal mission to spread the word around the Lowcountry  and increase awareness about the importance of participating in Alzheimer’s research, and even insisted that her picture be taken while she was receiving her study drug infusion in order to normalize the research experience. She participates in a clinical trial so her children and other future generations will be able to live in a world without Alzheimer’s disease.

“Each of our Citizen Scientist Award nominees has made an impact not only on the RSF Research and Innovation Center staff, but on the ability of the Alzheimer’s research field to move closer to a cure. They have truly become part of our family, and we are forever grateful for the trust they have put in our team,” said Jacobo Mintzer, executive director of the RSF Research and Innovation Center

The Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation awards are designed to broaden awareness of the benefits of clinical research for current and future generations and increase involvement of under-represented groups in research.

There are more than 400 Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials underway, with more than 100 needing to recruit participants over the next few years. Sixty percent of Americans say they are definitely willing or would consider participating in Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials, but participation rates show that less than 10 percent are actually doing so.

“Everyone is at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, so we all need to be aware of and consider clinical trials and research. The last thing researchers want is to have a promising trial available, but not the necessary volunteers to participate. That’s where Citizen Scientists can help by spreading the grass-roots level messaging regarding this enormous need,” said Dr. Edward Zamrini, medical director of the Cleo Roberts Memory Clinic at Banner Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City, Arizona, in a news release. “Outreach to our growing aging population that explains Alzheimer’s disease research from a personal perspective can help us in our race to find a cure.”

The top three national awardees will be celebrated at the UsAgainstAlzheimer’s National Summit in September 2019.

Originally posted on Vital Signs on July 10, 2019.

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