Alzheimer’s cure on the horizon?
A dramatic new study has offered a ray of hope on a possible cure for the Alzheimer’s disease which causes gradual loss of memory, mood changes and problems with communicating and reasoning amongst the elderly.
In a paper published in the journal Science, an orphan drug called bexarotene has a remarkable affect on mice afflicted with a condition similar to Alzheimer’s in humans, according to a team of researchers led by Gary Landreth at Case Western University and his graduate student Paige Cramer.
These mice have similar protein plaques in their brains, composed of beta-amyloid proteins and they show behavioural and cognitive impairment similar to some of the problems experienced by Alzheimer’s patients.
But just hours after administering bexarotene to these mice, the plaques started to clear. And within a few days the mice also recovered cognitive abilities that they had lost. They regained the ability to make nests as well as recovering at least some of their sense of smell.
The bexarotene (Targretin) is a drug approved for use in humans to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a rare skin cancer.
The disease has affected nearly 500,000 people in the UK. A combination of factors including age, genetic inheritance, environmental factors, lifestyle and overall general health are causing the disease amongst the elderly.