Jerry McLaughlin is in the business of hope. And in the not too distant future, he's looking to offer people with early signs of Alzheimer's disease something even better. His company, AgeneBio, is about to launch HOPE4MCI, an eagerly anticipated study with the potential to provide the first medical treatment that can actually delay the onset of Alzheimer's. When this clinical trial launches early next year, hundreds of people with mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's will receive a drug called AGB101 over a period of 18 months, to see if it slows the progression of the disease, compared to patients taking a placebo. There has not been a major breakthrough in Alzheimer's drug research in well over a decade, and there's currently no medication approved to treat people with mild cognitive impairment. AgeneBio seeks to change all of that in a single stroke by showing that a medication already used to treat epilepsy can help put the brakes on Alzheimer's by regulating the hyperactivity that occurs in the brain of people with this form of dementia. "Part of the reason we're so excited is if we can intervene and restore this hyperactivity back to normal, you can preserve this area of the brain longer, and preserve memory and cognition longer," says McLaughlin, CEO of AgeneBio. "You may in fact be able to slow the underlying progression of the disease and hopefully a patient would be able to avoid the progression to Alzheimer's dementia." Preliminary research on AGB101 has shown good results, reducing brain hyperactivity and significantly improving memory in a group of several dozen older adults with mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's. The next step is a Phase III clinical trial involving a much larger group of patients. The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation is a funder of this drug research, and optimistic about its chances of success. "AGB101 has the potential to become the first drug approved for mild cognitive impairment," says Dr. Howard Fillit, founding executive director of the foundation. "The ADDF funded AgeneBio's work on this drug because we believed in its unique mechanism of action and the focus on MCI patients. We look forward to the