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Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Potential Found for Cancer Drug as Oral Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease

Previous work with mice found cognition improved, nerve cell loss was reduced when microtubule protein stabilized

July 23, 2014 - Scientists are reporting new progress on a set of compounds initially developed for cancer treatment that shows promise as a potential oral treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Currently, no cure exists for the devastating neurological disease that affects more than 5 million Americans – primarily senior citizens.

In a healthy brain, the protein known as tau binds to and stabilizes microtubules, which are cellular components made of protein inside cells. Microtubules are critical for performing many processes in the cell, such as growth and division.

In the brain, they are particularly important for transporting molecules or other "cargo," such as nutrients. But in people with Alzheimer's disease, tau doesn't bind well to microtubules and clumps up in the brain. That leaves microtubules in disarray.

Scientists believe that this process leads to the mental problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease, including memory loss, dementia and ultimately nerve cell death.

 

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These researchers, Carlo Ballatore, Kurt R. Brunden and colleagues have previously shown that when agents that can stabilize microtubules are given to mice with Alzheimer-like traits, their cognition has improved, and nerve cell loss is reduced. But the experimental compounds so far have not been good drug candidates, mainly because they must be injected, which can be painful.

The Ballatore and Brunden teams wanted to test a series of compounds, already identified as potential anti-fungal and anti-cancer agents, that patients might one day be able to take orally.

They gave the compounds to mice by mouth and found that the drugs reached the brain, took on the role of tau and stabilized microtubules in the animals' brains. This led the scientists to conclude that the molecules from these classes could be good oral therapy candidates for treating Alzheimer's and related disorders.

Their study appears in ACS' Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

The authors acknowledge funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Marian S. Ware Alzheimer's program and the Penn Medicine Neuroscience Center.

The American Chemical Society  is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, the ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals, and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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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.

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Audi A3 (2010-2015)

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