A team of scientists at the University of Leicester have discovered a drug for Alzheimer's disease that not only improves the neurodegenerative symptoms but also extends the life span of terminally ill mice.
The team of international researchers based at the Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit in UL conducted a four-year study in mice to find a new drug that targets a particular protein in the brain of Alzheimer's disease patients.
New Drug For Alzheimer's Disease
The study deals with discovery of a novel drug-like molecules that help in retrieving the loss of memory and slowing down the degeneration of brain in mice. It has the potential to treat AD in humans, said Andrew Tobin, the corresponding author of the study, and Dr. Sophie Bradley, the lead researcher of the study.
For the purpose of the study, the investigators used mice with degenerating brain cells that mimic the brain of humans with AD. The researchers concentrated on a protein that is previously known to be associated with AD, which they believed could be a potential drug target.
It was observed that when terminally ill mice were treated with novel drugs that are aimed at the specific protein in the brain, the animals not only exhibited improvement in neurodegenerative symptoms but also had an extended life span.
Protein Target For The Treatment Of Alzheimer's Disease
A number of studies conducted earlier used a variety of drugs that targeted the particular protein in brain and found that in spite of providing improvements in cognitive functions, they also resulted in severe side effects.
In contrast, the drug named allosteric ligands that is used in the current study did not result in any adverse effect on mice when they attacked M1 muscarinic receptor, the target protein in the brain. When the above receptor in the brain is activated by the drug, the mice showed great improvement in cognitive functions, symptoms of brain degeneration, and life span.
Development Of Viable Drug Target
The study findings are of great value in understanding whether M1 muscarinic receptor is a "viable drug target" for developing reliable treatment options against AD. As a matter of fact, there are no effective treatments for the debilitating dementia, as all the intervention methods available in the market are aimed at masking the symptoms of the disease.
"Our study opens up avenues for researchers to look at new drugs that treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's and also slow disease progression," noted Tobin in a press release.
The study is published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.