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Cancer Drug Improves Memory in Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease
Myriam
Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012 3:06 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326


From Alzheimer's Daily News:


(Source: AAAS) - A compound that previously progressed to Phase II clinical trials for cancer treatment slows neurological damage and improves brain function in an animal model of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study in the March 14 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings suggest the drug epothilone D (EpoD) may one day prove useful for treating people with early-stage Alzheimer's disease.

Nerve cells in people with Alzheimer's disease contain tangles - distorted clumps made up of the protein tau. Under normal circumstances, tau helps stabilize structures in nerve cells known as microtubules, which help transport nutrients and other substances from one end of the cell to the other. A growing body of evidence suggests the disruption in normal tau function during Alzheimer's disease could cause microtubules to break down, resulting in nerve cell damage.

Kurt Brunden, PhD, and colleagues examined the effects of EpoD on older mice that already displayed memory deficits and tau tangles similar to people with Alzheimer's disease. The researchers administered EpoD weekly to the mice for three months. Compared with Alzheimer's mice that did not receive the treatment, the EpoD-treated mice had reduced formation of tau tangles in the brain. They also outperformed the mice that did not receive the drug in learning and memory tests.

"These results suggest that EpoD might have therapeutic benefit in Alzheimer's disease and related neurodegenerative diseases, such as frontotemporal lobar degeneration, where abnormal tau tangles are present," Brunden said.

"EpoD readily enters the brain, where it appears to persist for a much longer time than in the blood. This may explain why low doses were both effective and safe in the mouse model of Alzheimer's disease," Brunden said.

Go to full story: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-03/sfn-cdi030912.php