Westford Retiree Receives National Award for Alzheimer’s Volunteerism

The Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation® Has Recognized Dennis Chan for the 2020 National Citizen Scientist Catalyst Award®

Contact: Pamela Larkin – pamelalarkin@rational360.com, 408-466-5952

Boston, MA (October 22, 2020) – The Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation® (GAP) has recognized Westford retiree Dennis Chan as the honoree of the National Citizen Scientist Catalyst Award®. The Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment (CART) at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, where Chan volunteers in the A4 Alzheimer’s prevention clinical trial, nominated him for the award to recognize his outstanding leadership of outreach efforts and support of the community of clinical trial volunteers.

“Hearing directly from someone who is participating in a clinical trial is powerful for people who are considering volunteering,” said GAP President John Dwyer. “That’s why Dennis’ involvement and leadership of CART outreach events matters so much – by sharing his personal testimony, he is helping to make Alzheimer’s research more accessible for the Boston community.”

To accelerate the delivery of innovative Alzheimer’s therapies, GAP works with CART and more than 80 other research centers across North America to improve recruitment efforts and the operation of clinical trials. This year, research centers in GAP’s network nominated dozens of dedicated volunteers for the 2020 National Citizen Scientist Awards.

Chan began researching Alzheimer’s disease when his wife started showing signs of memory loss. In the Alzheimer’s screening process at CART, Chan’s wife was ruled out of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, but he was diagnosed with high levels of beta amyloid plaque. This plaque increases his risk for developing the disease and qualified him for the A4 Alzheimer’s prevention clinical trial.

“When I first started looking into clinical trials, one of my children challenged me to do something instead of just raising money,” said Chan. “I find being a clinical trial volunteer more rewarding than fundraising, and I get to set an example for my children of what it means to help make the world a better place.”

As a clinical trial research participant, Dennis Chan has spoken at several CART outreach events to educate potential volunteers about research opportunities. He is also a member of the Alzheimer’s Clinical Trial Consortium Advisory Board and represented CART at their annual meeting in San Diego last year. Additionally, Dennis and his wife participate in their local Dementia Friends support group in Westford.

“Increasingly, the Alzheimer’s disease research community is exploring avenues of treatment that focus on ways to prevent the development of the disease, such as the A4 Study,” said Gad A. Marshall, M.D., the site principal investigator at the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston“For these clinical trials, volunteers like Dennis Chan – older adults without cognitive impairment – are essential.”

Alzheimer’s is a growing public health threat, with more than 130,000 people over 65 in Massachusetts living with the disease. Along with COVID-19, it is the only top ten cause of death in the United States with no treatments and no cure. But despite the importance of Alzheimer’s research, 90% of Alzheimer’s clinical trials are delayed by slow recruitment, and 99% of potential volunteers are never referred to or never consider joining Alzheimer’s clinical trials.

The National Citizen Scientist Catalyst Award, for which GAP recognized Dennis Chan, honors a clinical trial volunteer who acts as a stimulus in bringing about or hastening a result through creative, new, and novel approaches to encourage clinical trial participation. The National Citizen Scientist Awards are supported by the Vradenburg Foundation. To learn more, visit globalalzplatform.org/awards.

About the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation (GAP)
The Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation® (GAP) is a patient-centric nonprofit dedicated to accelerating the delivery of innovative therapies for neurological disorders by reducing the duration and cost of clinical trials. Research centers across the US and Canada are part of the growing GAP Network (GAP-Net). GAP supports GAP-Net research centers by assisting with study start up and recruitment activities, promoting diversity in research studies, and offering national programs that champion brain health and the citizen scientists who make research possible.

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