Researchers identify ‘neurostatin’ that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

15/02/2016

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An approved anti-cancer drug successfully targets the first step in the toxic chain reaction that leads to Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting that treatments may be found to lower the risk of developing the neurodegenerative condition.

 

The body has a variety of natural defences to protect itself against neurodegeneration, but as we age, these defences become progressively impaired and can get overwhelmed.
  -  Michele Vendruscolo

Researchers have identified a drug that targets the first step in the toxic chain reaction leading to the death of brain cells, suggesting that treatments could be developed to protect against Alzheimer’s disease, in a similar way to how statins are able to reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

The drug, which is an approved anti-cancer treatment, has been shown to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, both in a test tube and in nematode worms. It has previously been suggested that statin-like drugs – which are safe and can be taken widely by those at risk of developing disease – might be a prospect, but this is the first time that a potential ‘neurostatin’ has been reported.

When the drug was given to nematode worms genetically programmed to develop Alzheimer’s disease, it had no effect once symptoms had already appeared. But when the drug was given to the worms before any symptoms became apparent, no evidence of the condition appeared, raising the possibility that this drug, or other molecules like it, could be used to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The results are reported in the journal Science Advances.


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Reproduced courtesy of the University of Cambridge
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The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz is also the President of the Cambridge Network.

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