RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Rio Grande City is now home to the first Alzheimer’s research center in the Rio Grande Valley.

El Faro Health and Therapeutics celebrated the opening of its doors on Nov. 11 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours of the center.

“For a long time, there’s been a lack of resources spent on studying the Hispanic population and now this place will hopefully be the first of many that will start that process,” said physician and president of El Faro Health and Therapeutics, Dr. Antonio Falcon.

He said the new center is a collaboration with his son, Dr. James Falcon, and the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation.

The research center will be open to the public to visit on their own or with a physician’s referral for access to the research process.

“The way studies are designed some people will be picked for them and some won’t, but we’re anxious to get started,” said Dr. Falcon.

He explained that research can help with earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“For a long time we had no access to treatments, that has changed in the last several months. There is at least one treatment that is approved for use in early Alzheimer’s – dementia and there will be more coming down the pipeline in the next several years,” he said.

Dr. Falcon said the research is beneficial for the RGV’s Hispanic population.

“It will open the door for early treatment and hopefully arresting the progression and hopefully regressing the disease process itself,” he said.

Dr. Falcon’s son, Dr. James Falcon, explained that his father and himself share the same vision for the research center.

“To be able to try to find new therapeutics, new evaluation tools, treatments, etcetera. I think that’s really the main goal, to try to bring that to the people here, it’s something that we haven’t ever had in the past,” said Dr. James Falcon.

Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation president, John Dwyer, said the center’s location will provide opportunities for people from Laredo to Brownsville.

“This is going to be revolutionary because robust, ground-breaking clinical research for Alzheimer’s or for any of the neurological diseases, just doesn’t happen in South Texas,” said Dwyer.

Dwyer said he hopes El Faro Health and Therapeutics will be one of the first sites in the area to receive the last trials for a new Alzheimer’s drug that was recently approved.

 “With the high degree of dementia and Alzheimer’s in the Rio Grande Valley we need to be bringing therapy to the Rio Grande Valley first, not last, and that’s what this is going to do,” said Dwyer.