STANFORD — Don Kewman, 73, didn't just fear what could be in his future, he took steps to change it. Tests showed he was at risk for developing dementia.
"It was a scary thing," said Don. "Since my parents did not have Alzheimer's, I was kind of surprised and a bit shocked."
Don was surprised, but not sitting back to accept it. He joined the Alzheimer's Association as a volunteer advocate and started participating in drug studies to prevent the disease.
Once or twice a month, Don travels from Lincoln to Stanford for tests and infusions of Lecanemab, or Leqembi. The AHEAD 3-45 study aims to see if the drug can prevent Alzheimer's. It's the same drug the FDA recently granted accelerated approval for after it appeared to slow the progression of dementia.
"This is a huge step forward. It's not the end. It's more like the beginning of a new era," said Dr. Charles DeCarli, director of UC Davis Health's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.
Dr. DeCarli says there's a long road ahead but more federal funding and advocacy to stop the disease is making a difference.
"I would say in the next few years we start to make real progress with this disorder and a fully understanding of what it takes to treat dementia and maybe, what it takes to prevent it," said Dr. DeCarli.
Don, a relative of a CBS13 employee, is willing to do what it takes to continue the research that's changing and saving lives.
"I want to be able to remember my children, my grandchildren's name six months longer. I want to be independent six months longer to lessen that burden," Don said.
Don knows clinical trials aren't for everyone considering a long list of blood draws, MRIs, PET scans and more. But he's hoping more people will learn about them on the Alzheimer's Association website.
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