Alzheimer’s advance: Early stage study in mice show new drugs could restore memory loss and prolong life

An international team has announced a new advance in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease by identifying a new drug target that not only improves symptoms of brain degeneration it also extends the life-span of terminally ill mice.

The 4 year study by Medical Research Council (MRC) scientists based at MRC Toxicology Unit at the University of Leicester has been published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The study was led by Professor Andrew Tobin with colleagues from Eli Lilly and the Monash Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences in Australia.

Corresponding author Professor Tobin, who with lead researcher Dr Sophie Bradley have since moved from the University of Leicester to the University of Glasgow, said:

“The paper describes drug-like molecules that can restore memory loss and slow progression of prion neurodegenerative disease in a manner that relates to the potential of these drugs in human Alzheimer’s disease.

“We have been using mice whose brain cells are progressively dying, similar to what happens in Alzheimer’s disease. This project focuses on a particular protein in the brain, which is proposed to be involved in Alzheimer’s disease, and as such could be a potential target for new drugs.

“We have treated mice with a new class of drug, and found that these drugs can not only improve symptoms of brain degeneration, such as cognitive decline, but can also extend the life-span of these terminally-sick mice.”

The researchers state that drugs which activate this protein receptor in the brain have previously been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease, and showed positive results with respect to improving cognition, but the patients experienced a large number of adverse side effects. This new class of drug is more selective and does not cause any side-effects when administered to mice in the study.

The study authors believe that this offers hope in the design of new drugs for improving cognition and extending life span. .…more

The EIWH is a partner in the new EU funded Alzheimer project,  Mopead.

The MOPEAD project (Models of Patient Engagement for Alzheimer’s Disease), is designed to assess different Patient Engagement models across Europe, to identify efficient approaches of earlier identification of mild AD dementia and prodromal AD patients.

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