Skip to comments.Scientists pave way for simple pill to cure Alzheimer's
Posted on 10/09/2013 9:28:25 PM PDT by neverdem
SCIENTISTS have hailed a historic "turning point" in the search for a medicine that could beat Alzheimer's disease, after a drug-like compound was used to halt brain cell death in mice for the first time.
Although the prospect of a pill for Alzheimer's remains a long way off, the landmark British study provides a major new pathway for future drug treatments.
The compound works by blocking a faulty signal in brains affected by neurodegenerative diseases. The signal shuts down the production of essential proteins, leading to brain cells being unprotected and dying off.
The compound was tested in mice with prion disease - the best animal equivalent of human neurodegenerative disorders - and human clinical trials could take between five and 10 years. But scientists said they were confident the same principles would apply in humans with debilitating brain diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.
The study, published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine, was carried out at the Medical Research Council's (MRC) Toxicology Unit at the University of Leicester.
"It's a real step forward," team leader Professor Giovanna Mallucci said.
"It's the first time a substance has been given to mice that prevents brain disease. The fact that this is a compound that can be given orally, that gets into the brain and prevents brain disease, is a first in itself… We can go forward and develop better molecules and I can't see why preventing this process should only be restricted to mice. I think this probably will translate into other mammalian brains."
In debilitating brain diseases like Alzheimer's, the production of new proteins in the brain is shut down by a build-up of "misfolded proteins" or amyloids. This build-up leads to an "over-activation" of a natural defence mechanism that stops essential proteins being produced. Without these proteins to protect them, brain cells die off - leading to the symptoms of diseases like Alzheimer's.
The compound used in the study works by inhibiting an enzyme, known as PERK, which plays a key role in activating this defence mechanism. In mice with prion disease, it restored proteins to protect brain cells "stopping the disease in its tracks", restoring some normal behaviours and preventing memory loss.
Although the compound also produced significant side-effects in mice - including weight loss and mild diabetes - Professor Mallucci said it would "not be impossible" to develop a drug that protected the brain without the side-effects and that work towards doing so had been "very promising".
The breakthrough was greeted with excitement by scientists, who said that while it is not a guarantee of an Alzheimer's cure in the near future, it remains a significant proof of principle.
Professor Roger Morris, acting head of King's College London's department of chemistry, believed the finding "will be judged by history as a turning point in the search for medicines to control and prevent Alzheimer's disease".
"This is the first convincing report that a small drug, of the type most conveniently turned into medicines, stops the progressive death of neurons in the brain as found, for instance, in Alzheimer's disease," he said.
"True, this study has been done in mice, not man; and it is prion disease, not Alzheimer's, that has been cured.
However, there is considerable evidence that the way neurons die in both diseases is similar; and lessons learned in mice from prion disease have proved accurate guides to attenuate the progress of Alzheimer's disease in patients.
"From finding the first effective drug in a mouse, to having an effective medicine in man usually takes decades to bring to fruition… So, a cure for Alzheimer's is not just around the corner. However, the critical point of principle made by… [the] study is that a drug… can arrest neurodegeneration caused by amyloid in the brain."
David Allsopp, professor of neuroscience at Lancaster University, said the study had thrown up "very dramatic and highly encouraging results", but said that more research was needed to overcome the "problematic side-effects" and to prove the technique would be effective against other diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
There are currently 800,000 people in the UK with dementia and Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause.
Dr Eric Karran, director of research at Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "What is true in animals does not always hold true in people and the ultimate test for this compound will be to see whether it is safe and effective in people with these diseases."
Alzheimer’s is horrible. It doesn’t kill; it just turns a person into someone no one has ever met.
If it works in mice now, why is it a long way off for Alzheimer’s victims? I’m sure volunteers could be found to take the drug. What other hope do they have? Perhaps it’s only a preventative and would be ineffective once the disease has taken hold. But that didn’t seem to be the case with the mice.
IF patients remember to take it.
Let me guess. Obamacare’s new Alzheimer’s treatment. Cyanide.
It’s not lack of volunteers, it is held back by USDA to see how many seniors will die first on it, and then there is the big cost to keep researching funds flowing.
"Although the compound also produced significant side-effects in mice - including weight loss and mild diabetes"
First, do no harm!
The Brits quoted in this publication need to step away from the bar stool and sober up. The last time I looked, a rodent model of prion disease was a Scrapie infection that has nothing to do with the human model of Alzheimer’s. Almost all of the big pharmas have already abandoned the amyloid hypothesis as a potential therapeutic target for Alzheimer’s. Many believe that the amyloid is a protective cofactor. The big pharmas have already succeeded in preventing and removing the amyloid without having any significant influence in stopping or reversing the progression of the underlying Alzheimer’s pathology.
It needs more research.
They’re saying that the problem is that the brain goes on the attact when it senses a build up of proteins. And this new drug blocks that attack from happening. But what if nothing fights that build up? Did they follow the mice to see if they had some kind of brain hemmorhage a few months into treatment? There’s gotta be a reason nature wants to fight these proteins.
But its something.
I know it and many other drugs are held back and that otherwise there would be no shortage of volunteers to test their efficacy. My point was what do sufferers who will surely die have to lose?
One thing one should do is to cut processed sugar from one’s diet which would go a long way in prevention.
Another major medical breakthrough that we’ll never hear about again.
Do you have any citations for that data? I’d be very interested in seeing them...
Met a doctor from Europe who was visiting some mutual friends in the U.S. not long ago. He wouldn’t answer too many questions but did talk some about all the problems that are encountered when any doctors outside the U.S. try to get anything approved by the FDA.
Seems to me though that if a cure for something can be found, it shouldn’t matter who finds it. But then a whole lot of people doing research in the U.S. might have to find another job.
Just a thought!
Popular Asian spice can cure Alzheimer’s disease
Posted on 09/17/2010 6:58:35 AM PDT by Scythian
(NaturalNews) Nature is full of various herbs and spices that protect against disease and even treat and cure it. And according to Chris Kilham, an ethnobotanist and Fox News’ “Medicine Hunter”, turmeric root — also known in its extract form as curcumin — is one such powerful spice that appears to both prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and even cure it.
“People who develop Alzheimer’s disease get a sticky plaque in the brain called amyloid beta,” explained Kilham to Dr. Manny Alvarez in a recent Fox News interview. Such plaques either develop as a result of Alzheimer’s, or they are the direct cause of it. But either way, they are directly related to the degenerative process.
However studies show that turmeric actually eliminates these plaques, both when they are first starting to form and even during the late stages of their advancement.
“What we have in turmeric is something that appears to inhibit the development of Alzheimer’s disease and actually help to reduce the occurrence of plaque in the brain if you have it,” noted Kilham. “We know in animal studies, when animals actually have amyloid beta plaque in their brains and they’re given turmeric root that plaque is reduced.”
Observational studies have also shown that people groups who eat large amounts of turmeric virtually never get Alzheimer’s.
“In countries where people consume a lot of [turmeric], there’s a very low incidence of Alzheimer’s disease,” emphasized Kilham. “In India and Southeast Asia, it’s a rare disease. And [in the U.S.] it’s very, very common.”
According to Kilham, drug companies are hard at work trying to develop drug versions of turmeric, but he recommends eating real turmeric whenever possible, and taking turmeric extract supplements if eating the spice in food is not an option.
“A challenge that we face is that drug companies can’t patent turmeric root,” he said. “So they will continue to try to develop something else. [But] eating turmeric, eating its extracts appears to be protective against one of the most horrific and debilitating diseases we know.”
A guy’s champion Ibizan Hound contracted deadly Valley Fever while on the show circuit.
No matter what they did, the dog wouldn’t fully recover.
She was sick for over a year.
I told him to start giving her Turmeric.
A few months later she was healthy enough to show again and give birth to pups.
Turmeric is a miracle.
If I were facing Alzheimer’s, I would not mind weight loss and mild diabetes. The weight loss would actually be a benefit.
Well I know that Merck for one is still conducting advanced clinical trials on drugs to prevent the production of amyloid beta going into the brain.