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Telehealth company Ro has reached an agreement with the National Institute on Aging to create a registry of patients that could participate in Alzheimer’s disease research, a new approach to tackle the stubborn issue of recruitment for clinical trials.

Ro, which is best known for prescribing hair loss and erectile dysfunction medication online, will use its platform to recruit and screen patients who may be at risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia. The hope is that Ro’s consumer-friendly technology platform and broad user base will streamline the process of finding more patients, helping overcome what NIA senior investigator Madhav Thambisetty calls “one of the major bottlenecks” in Alzheimer’s research.


Clinical trial support is a new direction for Ro, which will conduct a feasibility study that aims to find hundreds of people who are willing and eligible to participate in trials. Those patients will be funneled into the new Registry for Equal Access to Clinical Trials in Alzheimer’s Disease, or REACT-AD. In the coming months, Ro will begin reaching out to tens of thousands of its customers aged 48 to 65 whose medical history indicates they may be at risk for Alzheimer’s and who live within 50 miles of NIA facilities in Baltimore and Bethesda, MD.

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