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Published on: October 27, 2012
by Kathleen Blanchard RN for eMax Health:
Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital/Mount Sinai School of Medicine are working to find a drug that can prevent and treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. They have discovered a compound that may help humans and was successful for reversing memory loss in mice with dementia.
A study presented at the 6th Neurodegenerative Conditions Research and Development Conference in San Francisco, shows promise for an investigational compound known as IRX4204 that stopped memory loss in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease.
In their studies, researcher found the compound stimulates brain receptors to stop cognitive decline in mice that developed Alzheimer’s disease. The finding is significant. The compound treated the root cause of Alzheimer’s disease by preventing the buildup of tau protein and amyloid plaque – both of which all hallmarks of the disease.
Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 5 million Americans and is expected to reach 16 million by the year 2050. One of the difficulties is that the disease often goes unrecognized until the disease is advanced, despite warning signs.
Salk researchers have also recently discovered how diabetes could lead to Alzheimer’s disease from accelerated buildup of proteins in brain that destroy neurons. The suggestion from their studies is that Alzheimer’s disease might be prevented with compounds that treat both diabetes and the neurovascular system.
Abnormal buildup of the proteins and amyloid is also linked to memory loss associated with Parkinson’s disease.
The compound works by blocking retinoid X receptors (RXRs) in the brain that can bind to proteins in the brain to alter gene function.
Lead researcher Giulio Maria Pasinetti, MD, PhD, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City said in a press release, “The treatment of AD remains a serious unmet medical need which IRX4204 may be able to address. Our research shows that IRX4204 and other RXR agonists have potential for slowing, and possibly reversing pathology and cognitive deficits in Alzheimer’s disease patients.”
Studies are being developed in patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease who have dementia. The compound was successful for treating mice with Alzheimer’s disease. The hope is that the findings will translate to humans.
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