Skip to comments.`Spectacular' Alzheimer's Breakthrough Possible (also spinal cord injuries)
Posted on 10/02/2004 12:27:24 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
TAMPA - A team of Finnish researchers working with Tampa's Johnnie B. Byrd Sr. Alzheimer's Center and Research Institute has developed a drug that could be a major advancement for people with spinal cord injuries and degenerative diseases including Alzheimer's. The researchers, led by Paivi Liesi, at the University of Helsinki, isolated a combination of amino acids known as tripeptide lysine-aspartic acid isoleucine. When tested in rats, the combination prevented neurotoxins from destroying neurons in the rats' brains.
The therapy could slow or even reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease, the researchers said. It could be a boon for the millions of people dealing with the condition because there are few medications available for those in the later stages of the disease.
The combination of amino acids isolated by Liesi and her team may hold promise for people with spinal cord injuries. Tests showed it regenerated nerve impulses in laboratory rats with damaged spinal cords. Those rats, whose spinal cords had been severed, regained limited body movement after the drug was administered.
``This is one of the most spectacular results I've seen in the last five years,'' said Huntington Potter, the Byrd center's chief executive officer. ``The promise is very, very great.''
The results of the yearlong test were published Friday in the Journal of Neuroscience Research, a top publication in its field, where studies are evaluated by other scientists before being accepted for publication in a process known as peer review.
``To be published in there, it would have to be a very good study,'' said Paul Sanberg, distinguished professor of neuroscience at the University of South Florida College of Medicine and director of USF's Center for Aging and Brain Repair.
If the drug is successful in humans, it could be a major advancement for the millions of Americans with spinal cord injuries and the 4.5 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer's, a number expected to grow to more than 14 million by 2050.
Ed Bergman, assistant director for family advocacy for the Alzheimer's Association in Chicago, said his group will be watching the results of future tests.
``We're happy for any development that has promise,'' Bergman said. ``We're constantly hopeful for a cure. That's our dream every day, that this is the day a cure will be found.''
The research also could lead to important treatment for people suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, Sanberg said.
It will take years of research and backing from a pharmaceutical manufacturer or biotechnology company to finance millions of dollars of clinical trials on humans to determine that, he said.
``It's a lot easier to get a rat moving from a spinal cord injury than it is a human,'' Sanberg said.
Potter said that after continued testing in rats, initial human testing could begin within six months to a year. If human testing proves the drug is effective, it could take another three to seven years to win Food and Drug Administration approval to make the drug widely available.
The Byrd center, which is building a $20 million research facility at the University of South Florida, contributed about $250,000 to help fund Liesi's work, Potter said.
The initial research was conducted in Helsinki. Some of the next next phase of testing will take place in Tampa, Potter said.
Reporter Gary Haber can be reached at (813) 259-8285
I'm up too late, aren't I?
Hey, but this is good news! Glad you stayed up!!
Yes you are!
Well, it's been a fun night.
I'll leave you two with a walk down memory lane:
Those Finns are abolsutely dedicated folks when it comes to science or engineering projects. They live awful dull and boring lives...and are the least talkative society in the civilized world. But they spend alot of time reflecting on what they see...and maybe that made the difference in the lab.
Aspartic Acid - commonly found in Sugar Beets and Sugar Cane...
Thanks for the LINK!
A lot of studies going on, hopefully this is the one.
Rats have it too easy.
Bump for the natural medicines... it does seem God has made a remedy for each of our sufferings.
Alzheimers and spinal cord injuries are two groups with almost nothing to lose if the drug proves innefective or has unexpected side effects, yet it will take 3 to 7 years to get approval. I wonder how many people with alzheimers will die or move beyond hope, or how many people with spinal cord injuries will see their legs or bodes atrophy during those 3 to 7 years.
Does it do anything to MS?
I suspect that this is the type of drug that if it shows promise gets expedited approval.
Has that happened before? And what does expedited mean? It would seem to me if the people being treated have nothing to lose, then they at least, ought be able to get the drug based on the drug company's tests. With full consent of course.
I don't know.
But it mentions this:
***...The research also could lead to important treatment for people suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, Sanberg said. .....***
I imagine a lot of them will volunteer for early study.
I think there have been a couple of cancer drugs given expedited approval. Off the top of my head I couldn't say which. Generally life threatening situation is required/ no other treatment hope.
Too late for Ronaldus Magnus, sadly...but hopefully this will help many others avoid his fate.
This story must be fabricated. I heard Ron Reagan say that because Bush is standing in the way of stem cell research, millions will needlessly suffer with such diseases as mentioned in this article.
The study must have been underwritten by the RNC and the Bush-Cheney re-election team.
Howlin, if I ever meet you, you are getting the biggest hug.
You rock! Even with insomnia.
bump for later
I am so jaded by so many "Breakthroughs" that take years and years of study and tests and then disappear into some dark hole or finally get approval only to be pulled later ala Vioxx...
Yep. All we have to do now is wait for Our Rulers to tell us that actual smart scientists know what they're doing.
I wonder how many will die in the years that will take, while bureaucrats fill out forms and cover their asses?
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