Hope on the Alzheimer’s front

Hope on the Alzheimer’s front

Existing drugs for Alzheimer’s just slow down the progression of the disease –and not necessarily by much or for very long. But there’s hope that things may get better, according to an article in the Daily Telegraph (Alzheimer’Â’s progress ‘halted by new drug’)

An experimental drug that for the first time appears to block the devastating progression of Alzheimer’s disease is unveiled today.

Researchers have found in animal experiments that the new compound not only relieves the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, but also reduces the two types of brain deposits that are its hallmarks, thereby blocking its progression…

Most research until now has focused on blocking the formation of plaques from a molecule called beta amyloid. But tangles of “tau protein” also form inside brain cells, and now a way to block their formation as well as that of plaques, has been found by Prof Frank LaFerla’s team at the University of California at Irvine, and Prof Abraham Fisher of the Israel Institute for Biological Research.

In a study with mice genetically altered to succumb to an Alzheimer’s like disease, published today in the journal Neuron, a compound known as AF267B reduced both plaque lesions and tangles in brain regions associated with learning and memory.

There will be plenty of opportunitiess for failure and disappointment from lab to clinic, but let’s hope it works.

Thanks to Mickey for the tip.

March 3, 2006

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