Bill McCartney And A Cure For Alzheimer's Disease

Bill's Coaching Days In Boulder

If you are a college football fan and lived in Colorado in the 90s, you probably are familiar with Bill McCartney. The head football coach of the Colorado Buffaloes developed and led his teams in the late 80s and early 90s to unprecedented success, winning the National Championship in 1990, and having the best player in the country capture the Heisman Trophy in 1994 (Rashaan Salaam).

Then in 1995, the gregarious and often outspoken head coach unexpectedly left the CU program at its pomp to pursue a life of ministry with the Promise Keepers, a Christian organization the former coach founded, aimed at revitalizing the spiritual conviction of the men of America. He was also able to spend more time with his family as a result of this change.


Recently, however, McCartney’s life has taken a turn. In the summer of 2016, McCartney was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

“He’s just really struggling with short-term memory and we as a family are asking for prayer and heaven forbid if he were ever in a compromising position and someone knew what was going on they could help him,” Coach Mac’s son Mike said. “And also we believe there are hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- who will pray for him.’’

CU Research

Well it seems that all of those prayers may be answered, and sometime soon. A team of doctors at the CU Anshutz Medical Campus are in the midst of conducting studies on a drug that is the first in a new class of medications which are meant to reverse the adverse affects of Alzheimer’s. Bill McCartney is one of the participants of CU Anshutz’ trial.

"We found so far that Leukine (the drug) is safe in people with Alzheimer’s disease," says Dr. Huntington Potter, the director of the research. "That means that it doesn't have the side effects that so many other Alzheimer’s drugs have had, which are swelling in the brain and bleeding into the brain."

The treatment’s purpose is to remove the “brain plaque” from the outside of cells. In the first seven days, one injection has removed about half of the brain plaque thus far. Potter says that is the fastest and most effective plaque-reducing molecule anyone has witnessed in history. And perhaps equally significant, the drug hasn’t contributed to any adverse side-effects which are typical in this field, such as hemorrhaging or swelling.

As encouraging as those first two points are, maybe the most remarkable finding of all is that Leukine appears to not only get rid of the plaque, but actually helps the brain repair itself. With encouraging signs like these, one can’t help share in Coach Mac’s optimism, although McCartney has a bigger picture in mind. "I know in my heart that I’m going to spend eternity in heaven,” the former coach said. “I know in my heart that I am. Not that I’ve done anything to deserve it. "So with that, I'm not scared of the future, I'm not scared of growing old. This is all preparation for what's really amazing around the corner."

Consider A Third Option

At Seniors Helping Seniors, we are hopeful the research is conclusive and Leukine will be made accessible to the general public as soon as possible. But in the meantime, we have to stay grounded in the present. If you are deciding between caring for someone with dementia at home and moving your loved one into a facility, consider a third option. We offer an experienced staff of seniors who provide in-home care for the elderly. For some it’s an ideal option, because it provides security while promoting independent living for as long as possible. We've been serving Weld County, Larimer County, and really all of Northern Colorado for almost twenty years. If you would like more information about Seniors Helping Seniors, give us a call today.