This stroke drug could help treat Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

In a new study from the University of Southern California, researchers found a human stroke drug might also be a safe and powerful defense against Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

They showed the drug, 3K3A-APC, protected the brain’s white matter injury—the second leading cause of dementia in humans.

Such injuries occur when tiny clots block the flow of blood perfusing the brain’s white matter. Over time, these mini-strokes multiply and lead to cognitive decline.

The drug is fast-tracked by the Food and Drug Administration and soon enters Phase 3 clinical trials.

The stroke drug could potentially be used in people with widespread, diagnosed white matter injuries that have developed over time, with the goal of slowing down progression that leads to cognitive impairment.

A previous study in mice showed that the drug boosted the health of brain vessels, improved blood flow, reduced brain inflammation, and cut down on the buildup of amyloid, the protein commonly found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

The drug is a genetically modified version of a human blood protein called activated protein C, or APC.

It reduces inflammation and protects both neurons and the brain vascular system from death and degeneration.

In 2019, the drug appeared safe in Phase 2 clinical trial in people with strokes caused by blood clots who also received a standard of care therapy with a clot-dissolving drug or surgical removal of the clot.

The drug reduced brain bleeding for humans, just as had been seen in mouse models.

The Phase 3 trial for 3K3A-APC in ischemic stroke is expected to start in 2022. Additionally, a small Phase 2 trial in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis started this month.

If you care about dementia, please read studies about this common health problem that is linked to a higher risk of dementia and findings on why some older people can keep their minds dementia-free.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about regular exercise that may help prevent dementia, and results showing that nightly sleep of 5 hours, less, may increase the risk of dementia.

The study is published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. One author of the study is Berislav Zlokovic.

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