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Experimental drug compound found to reverse effects of Alzheimer's in mice

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August 7, 2014

Researchers at Yale University have discovered a drug shown to reverse the brain deficits ...

Researchers at Yale University have discovered a drug shown to reverse the brain deficits of Alzheimer's in mice (Photo: Shutterstock)

While there has been progress made in the fight against Alzheimer's, our understanding of the dispiriting disease remains somewhat limited, with a definitive cure yet to be found. The latest development comes at the hands of researchers from Yale's School of Medicine, who have discovered a new drug compound shown to reverse the effects of Alzheimer's in mice.

The team's research centers on a protein in the brain called STtriatal-Enriched tyrosine Phosphatase (STEP). While STEP is essential to regulating learning and memory, high levels prevent the strengthening of synapses in the brain. This synaptic strengthening is necessary for people to convert short-term memories into long-term memories, therefore disruption of the process can lead to a range of neuropsychiatric disorders, including Alzheimer's.

The scientists studied thousands of molecules in search of one that would inhibit the negative effects of STEP. They identified the compound TC-2153 and proceeded to examine its efficacy in curtailing the impacts of STEP, observing a reversal of deficits in a number of cognitive exercises, including the mouse's ability to remember objects it had seen previously.

“A single dose of the drug results in improved cognitive function in mice," says Dr Paul Lombroso, professor in the Yale Child Study Center and lead author of the study. "Animals treated with TC compound were indistinguishable from a control group in several cognitive tasks.”

The team is now investigating the effects of TC-2153 in rats and non-human primates with cognitive defects to determine whether the compound is effective at improving cognitive deficits in other animal models. If the testing proves successful, the team says it will bring them one step closer to human trials.

The research findings were published in the journal PLOS Biology.

Source: Yale University

About the Author
Nick Lavars Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. He now writes for Gizmag, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, Melbourne's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches.   All articles by Nick Lavars
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6 Comments

mass produce for human use alone if viable

Stephen N Russell
8th August, 2014 @ 09:27 am PDT

Rise of the Planet of the Mice.

Austin Garrett
8th August, 2014 @ 09:36 am PDT

When you have a potential cure for a deadly epidemic, doing some small trials on humans immediately is a much lower risk than messing around for years with the usual progression of trials. The FDA has exemptions for exactly this kind of situation, and the researchers should try to get approval under those procedures.

EH
8th August, 2014 @ 09:59 am PDT

I think that is very good news. I hope that their success will lead to making alzheimers something to not worry about as much.

BigGoofyGuy
8th August, 2014 @ 01:03 pm PDT

I agree with EH!

Sonya B
8th August, 2014 @ 04:03 pm PDT

There was another story this week where Australian scientists found Alzheimer's associated with low vitamin D levels.

So ensuring that you get adequate, but not excessive vitamin D might be a good idea if the disease runs in your family.

Wombat56
8th August, 2014 @ 04:17 pm PDT
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