In a recent study, researchers find that an experimental drug shows promise in treating Alzheimer’s disease. The drug can prevent inflammation and removing abnormal protein clumps in the brain that are associated with the disease.
The finding was presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2016 annual meeting. Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine led the study.
A key characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease is the development of abnormal protein clumps called amyloid plaques and tangled bundles of fibers in the brain.
These changes cause inflammation in the brain and damage to the neurons. This progressive damage leads to memory loss, confusion and dementia.
The new drug, known as NTRX-07, appears to decrease this inflammation in the brain, while preserving neurons and regenerative cells in the brain.
The authors discovered NTRX -07’s memory-restoring abilities while studying the drug’s potential to treat a complex, chronic pain condition called neuropathic pain.
They tested NTRX -07 on mice bred to have similar brain neurodegenerative issues as seen in Alzheimer’s.
The result showed that inflammation produced in response to the disease caused changes in the brain’s microglia cells – immune cells that typically remove dangerous amyloid plaques (protein clumps) in the brain.
As the amyloid plaques accumulated in the mice, the immune cells were unable to remove them, leading to inflammation and damage to nerve cells, which caused decreased cognitive ability.
The immune cells have receptors on the surface called CB2 receptors, which when activated can produce an anti-inflammatory response.
NTRX -07 targets CB2 receptors, which leads to decreased inflammation and prevents damage to the brain tissue. Behaviorally, the new drug improved memory performance and other cognitive skills.
In addition, the drug increased levels of a protein called SOX2, which has been shown to help new brain cells develop and protect the brain in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
News Source: American Society of Anesthesiologists.
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