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Could an Alzheimer's cure be close?


There has been a significant breakthrough in the search for a cure for Alzheimer’s. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have developed a drug that – at least for mice – appears to quickly reverse the pathological, cognitive and memory deficits caused by the Alzheimer’s disease.

Bexarotene is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of cancer. These experiments explored the possibilities of the drug as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. It is believed that Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by the brains inability to flush out naturaly occurring amyloid beta from the brain. Case Western REserver researcher Gary Landreth, PhD, proessor of neurosciences discovered that the main choholesterol carrier in the brain, Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) helped to clear out the amyloid beta proteins. Landreth and his colleagues tested bexarotene to see if it would increase the amount of ApoE and then if that increased amount could clear out the amassing amyloid beta in affected brains.

And the answer is yes, it works. Researchers were most impressed by how fast the drug worked. Improved memory deficits and behavior were evident. Within six hours of administering exarotene, soluble amyloid levels fell by 25%. The effect lasted for three days. The shift in brain chemistry correlated to an improvement in a broad range of behaviors.

“This is a particularly exciting and rewarding study because of the new science we have discovered and the potential promise of a therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. We need to be clear; the drug works quite well in mouse models of the disease. Our next objective is to ascertain if it acts similarly in humans. We are at an early stage in translating this basic science discovery into a treatment,” concluded Landreth.

Source: ScienceDaily, Science

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