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Promising Alzheimer’s Treatment Under Study February 10, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brain, Science.

In astounding good news for seniors (and soon-to-be seniors, like me), neuroscientists at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have published in the journal Science, a study that shows that use of a drug in mice appears to quickly reverse the pathological, cognitive and memory deficits caused by the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The medication, bexarotene, could help the five million Americans suffering from the progressive brain disease and gods know how many others elsewhere.  The best part is that bexarotene is already approved for oncology, with a good safety and side-effect profile.
Bexarotene  clears amyloid plaques by removing soluble amyloid beta proteins,  which are (currently) thought to produce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.  And this little study (in mice) backs up the hypothesis nicely; major hunks of cognitive function returned to Alzheimer’s-model mice in 72 hours.  Not just one, but three different mouse models. It appears that the bexarotene reprogrammed the brain’s immune cells to "eat" or phagocytose the amyloid deposits as well as the soluble forms. This observation demonstrated that the drug addresses the amount of both soluble and deposited forms of amyloid beta within the brain and reverses the pathological features of the disease in mice.
I’m impressed, and quite hopeful. Gary Landreth, PhD, of Case Western Reserve is the man to watch for future investigations, is the author of this study and the discoverer that apolipoprotein E is the mechanism by which the plaques are cleared (and bexarotene amps up production of this).


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