New discovery brings hope for Alzheimer's patients
Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia that impairs memory, thinking, and behavior. The disease predominantly affects people over the age of 60. Symptoms develop slowly and get worse over time, eventually interfering with the ability to carry out daily tasks. It's heartbreaking to see the way Alzheimer's affects a loved one. Currently, Alzheimer's is one of the most frequent causes of death in the USA. Unfortunately, there is still no drug that can cure or stop disease progress.
One hallmark of Alzheimer's is the presence of amyloid plaques in the spaces between brain neurons. This plaque is made of misfolded proteins, mainly a toxic protein peptide called beta-amyloid. It has been many years since beta-amyloid was linked with Alzheimer's. One possible way to treat Alzheimer's is by reducing the harmful effects of the protein.
Now a study appearing in Alzheimer's & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions provides clues to the mystery of Alzheimer's. The study, led by Jack Jhamandas at the University of Alberta, reveals that a compound called AC253 may be a therapeutic agent for the disease.
Jhamandas's team previously found some compounds that are neuroprotective against beta-amyloid toxicity. In the current study, they tested one of the compounds, AC253, which is an amylin receptor antagonist, in mice that were bred to develop Alzheimer's. Results showed that AC253 treatment improved memory and learning, increased synaptic integrity, and reduced microglial activation. No adverse effects were observed. Collectively, the data supports that amylin receptor can be a target for Alzheimer's.
There is still a long way to go before the researchers can conduct clinical trials on humans. In the next step, they will carry out experiments to determine the optimal dose of AC253 and to find ways of enhancing its efficacy.
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