Targeting age-related inflammation to slow Alzheimer’s disease: The LINE-AD study

The goal of Alzheimer’s research is to bring discoveries from the laboratory to patients as quickly as possible. Brown University Professor John Sedivy, associate dean and director of the University's Center for the Biology of Aging, published a discovery from his laboratory in the journal Nature in 2019 showing that nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors used to treat HIV decreases age-related inflammation. His publication has led to a major grant from the Alzheimer’s Association’s Part the Cloud Translational Research Funding program to study this medicine in early Alzheimer’s disease. The Brown team for this bench to bedside study includes aging researchers, Alzheimer’s disease and HIV experts and faculty from the statistical sciences.

What is the LINE-AD study?

This is a Phase I randomized, double-blind study seeking to enroll 35 participants with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer’s disease. The study will last approximately nine months and includes a screening, treatment and follow-up phase. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive either Emtricitabine or a placebo, which is an inactive substance designed to look like a medication, but has no effect. Both Emtricitabine and the placebo will be administered as a daily oral dose. Participants will be asked to visit Butler Hospital or Brown’s MRI Research Facility during the study.

What is the purpose of the LINE-AD study?

The purpose of this study is to look at the safety and tolerability of Emtricitabine (FTC, Emtriva©, Gilead) in treating participants with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild Alzheimer’s disease. It will specifically examine inflammation in the brain due to Alzheimer’s disease and see if Emtricitabine could potentially reduce the inflammation at a level that could help with cognition and daily function.

Emtricitabine belongs to a class of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. This type of drug is already approved by the FDA to treat AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) caused by infection with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).


Men and women aged 50-85 with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer’s disease.   Interested individuals can learn more about their eligibility by contacting the Memory and Aging Program Outreach Team at 401-455-6402 or by sending an email to [email protected]

Research Leads

  • Stephen Salloway

    Associate Director of Clinical Research for the Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research, Martin M. Zucker Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Professor of Neurology

    Biomarker and drug development for Alzheimer’s disease

  • John Sedivy

    Hermon C. Bumpus Professor of Biology, Associate Dean and Director, Center for the Biology of Aging

  • Rami Kantor

    Professor of Medicine

  • Fenghai Duan

    Associate Professor of Biostatistics

  • Constantine Gatsonis

    Henry Ledyard Goddard University Professor of Statistical Sciences, Director of Statistical Sciences, Professor of Biostatistics

  • Hwamee Oh

    Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Associate Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences