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Salk researchers stop Alzheimer's in mice with synthetic drug

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Salk researchers develop synthetic for Alzheimer's

Researchers have found a new drug candidate that might stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and has been successful in mouse studies. The drug, known as J147, was able to stop Alzheimer’s disease brain damage and improve memory.

There are no drugs available that can stop Alzheimer’s disease once it develops or reverse the devastating effect of the disease that leads to progressive cognitive decline and is linked to early mortality.

In this study, researchers from the Salk Institute used living neurons grown in lab dishes to find out if they could use new synthetic compounds to protect the brain from diseases.

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The technique of using living neurons bypasses the trend from pharmaceutical companies that focus on finding ways to develop drugs that target amyloid plaques to treat Alzheimer’s disease and don’t work.

“Alzheimer's is a complex disease, but most drug development in the pharmaceutical world has focused on a single aspect of the disease--the amyloid pathway," says Marguerite Prior, a research associate in Schubert's lab, who led the project along with Qi Chen, a former Salk postdoctoral researcher.

David Schubert, the head of Salk's Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, whose team developed J147, said there are no other medications for Alzheimer’s disease that enhance memory and have a protective effect on the brain.

The drug is the first promising candidate for medical therapy to alter the course of Alzheimer’s disease - if it proves safe and effective in humans.

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