Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health
Diabetes Drug Shows Promise in Reducing Alzheimer's,
in Test Mice
Potential as a test for diagnosis of AD and a therapy
for the disease; improved learning and memory in tests
March 25, 2014 - Diabetic patients taking the drug,
pramlintide, may be ahead of many of us in the battle against
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and preserving our memory. A new study found
the synthetic version of amylin reduces amyloid-beta peptides, a major
component of Alzheimer's in the brain. It also improves learning and
memory, according to researchers from Boston University School of
Their findings, which appear online in Molecular
Psychiatry, also found AD patients have a lower level of amylin in
blood compared to those without this disease. These results may provide
a new avenue for both treatment and diagnosis of AD.
AD is a degenerative brain disease associated with
severe functional decline and has no effective treatment. Currently
there are 5 million people with Alzheimer's disease in the U.S. alone,
and the cost of caring for these patients exceeds $100 billion per year.
If no effective treatments are developed, the number of Alzheimer's
patients is expected to grow to 14-16 million by the year 2050.
There are multiple reasons for the high costs and
high failure rates associated with developing potential new drugs for
AD. One factor is that most drugs do not penetrate into the brain making
them ineffective for treating AD; another is that it usually takes 10-15
years to develop a new target drug to prove the safety and efficacy.
In contrast, some existing drugs for other diseases
may penetrate into brain and may be effective for Alzheimer's disease,
according to senior author Wendy Qiu, MD, PhD, associate professor of
psychiatry, pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at BUSM.
"Unfortunately most pharmaceuticals are reluctant
to support this type of repurposing research because of limited
financial benefit and some patent limitation, even though the cost is
much less expensive and the development time is much shortened," Qiu
Using AD models, the BUSM researchers investigated
the effects of amylin on the pathogenesis of the disease.
"Surprisingly, injections of amylin or pramlintide
into mice that had been genetically altered to have an Alzheimer's-like
condition. reduced the amyloid burden as well as lowered the
concentrations of amyloid-beta peptides (Aβ), a major component of AD in
the brain," explained Qiu.
Pramlintide is an analog of a natural occurring
peptide, amylin, produced by the pancreas. "It can easily cross the
blood/brain barrier and has shown favorable safety profile for diabetes
patients," she added.
The researcher suggests, therefore, that blood
levels of beta-amyloid after an injection of amyloid may be a way to
diagnose Alzheimer's disease.
According to the researchers, including lead author
Haihao Zhu, MD, PhD, also from the department of pharmacology and
experimental therapeutics at BUSM, these results argue for a therapeutic
application of amylin-class peptides for AD.
is used with mealtime insulin to control
blood sugar levels in people who have
diabetes. Pramlintide is only used to
treat patients whose blood sugar could
not be controlled by insulin or insulin
and an oral medication for diabetes.
Pramlintide is in a class of medications
called antihyperglycemics. It works by
slowing the movement of food through the
stomach. This prevents blood sugar from
rising too high after a meal, and may
decrease appetite and cause weight loss.
"There is broad agreement that more therapeutic
avenues need to be explored in addition to targeting Aβ for the
treatment of AD. Amylin-class drugs not only remove Aβ from the brain,
as demonstrated by our study, but also can improve glucose metabolism
and cerebrovasculature in the AD brain," said Qiu.
Based on their findings the researchers propose
that amylin-class peptides have potential to become a new avenue as a
challenge test for diagnosis of AD and as well as a therapeutic for the
If the clinical trial proves the effect of
pramlintide for Alzheimer's disease, Qiu believes this drug can be
applied to Alzheimer's patients in only three to five years.
“Dr. Qiu and colleagues have proposed to test this
idea in human volunteers known to have Alzheimer's disease as well as in
healthy volunteers. They plan to inject a drug known as pramlintide into
the blood stream and then determine if it leads to an increase in beta-amyloid
levels in people who have Alzheimer's disease but not in healthy
individuals,” according to the Alzheimer’s Association, which is helping
fund further research.
“Pramlintide is a synthetic version of amylin and
is already approved for use in humans. These studies could lay the
groundwork for a possible blood test for Alzheimer's disease.”
This work was supported by grants from the National
Institute on Aging, an Ignition Award and a BU ADC pilot grant.
Financial Relief for Volkswagen Diesel Owners
You may be eligible for money damages if you owned or leased one of these VW, Porsche or Audi vehicles.
In the major scandal of 2015, Volkswagen cheated you and the world. They rigged diesel emission controls so you, nor regulators, would know how much pollution their cars were adding to our environment.
They were caught and have reserved $7.3 billion to help "make it right" with victims.
If you owned or leased one of these vehicles, contact us now.
Janicek Law attorneys are actively pursuing these cases against VW. Do Not Wait...
Janicek Law Firm, PC
(Call toll free)
VW Jetta SportWagen (2009–2014)
VW Golf (2010-2015)
VW Golf SportWagen (2015)
VW Beetle (2012–2015)
VW Passat (2012-2015)
Audi A3 (2010-2015)
VW Touareg (2009–2016)
Porsche Cayenne (2015)
Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5 Quattro (2016)