A cure for Alzheimer’s on the horizon?
Scientists at the Salk Institute in California have recently tested a developmental drug designed to combat the signs of old age which are directly correlated with Alzheimer’s disease. Using the memory-enhancing J147 compound, which was originally synthesised after examining age-related accumulations in the brain and shown to prevent memory loss in inherited Alzheimer’s, the scientists were able to also show positive effects in rodents that have a predisposition to age quickly. By determining its impact on their brain genes, in addition to its effect on several hundred molecules associated with the metabolic process, the scientists sought to uncover whether the developmental drug was as beneficial at combating Alzheimer’s caused by old age as it was in the inherited form, and they were not disappointed. According to a number of physiological measures, the J147-treated group of mice resembled younger rodents, doing much better in memory tests as well as demonstrating improved motor functionalities, while their brains revealed fewer pathological characteristics of Alzheimer’s than the control group. They even exhibited a ‘younger’ gene expression profile and had metabolic activity that were more akin to those of younger mice. The researchers now hope to begin human clinical trials in the coming year.