Scientists discover that a drug, which is currently being developed as a treatment for patients with stroke, might also be able to prevent Alzheimer's disease.
In a recent paper, a team from the University of Southern California revealed that during animal testing, the drug reduced the buildup of toxic peptides and prevented memory loss — two symptoms of Alzheimer's — in mice.
The findings were published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine
The study revealed that 3K3A-APC, a genetically engineered version of the human blood protein called activated protein C, has shown beneficial effects in various conditions, including traumatic brain injury and multiple sclerosis. However, the scientists involved in the study are currently developing it as a treatment for stroke because of its capacity to reduce intracerebral bleeding in humans.
However, during trials, the researchers found that 3K3A-APC have properties that might prevent Alzheimer's.
"Because of its neuroprotective, vasculoprotective, and anti-inflammatory activities in multiple models of neurological disorders, we investigated whether 3K3A-APC can also protect the brain from the toxic effects of amyloid-β toxin in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease," explained Berislav V. Zlokovic of the University of Southern California and one of the authors of the study.
They found that 3K3A-APC has significantly reduced the buildup of amyloid-β that accumulates in the brain of a mouse model of Alzheimer's. The researchers found that 3K3A-APC blocks the nerve cells from producing BACE1, an enzyme needed to produce amyloid-β.
Previous trials have tested BACE1 inhibitors as a treatment for Alzheimer's but the researchers believe the new experimental drug they are currently developing can offer an alternative.
In addition, the genetically modified protein helped maintain cerebral blood flow and prevented memory loss in mice. It also prevented inflammation of the brain, something that patients who are suffering from the neurodegenerative disease experience.
Prevention Of Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's is the most common dementia. In 2014, 5 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with the disease. By 2040, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention anticipate that the number of cases across the country will nearly triple to 14 million.
The researchers believe that 3K3A-APC has the potential to become an anti-amyloid-β for people with early-stage Alzheimer's. It is still not a cure and right now, its effects have only been observed in mice, but it is worth exploring in future studies.