'Neurostatin' prevents Alzheimer's-related amyloid formation

The Pharmaceutical Journal15 FEB 2016

Roundworm study shows bexarotene could inhibit early step of amyloid-beta aggregation.

Researchers have now found that the anti-cancer drug bexarotene could delay the formation of the most toxic form of amyloid-beta aggregates that cause Alzheimer's disease. In the image, amyloid plaques on neurones

Source: istockphoto.com

Amyloid beta plaques are one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease but the drug bexarotene could inhibit their development

A major therapeutic strategy for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease is to inhibit the assembly of the disordered amyloid-beta peptide that aggregates in the brain. But no clinical trial to date has succeeded in this aim. 

In a previous study, researchers at the University of Cambridge identified some of the underlying molecular events that lead to amyloid-beta aggregation. Using this information, the team have now found that in a roundworm model, the anti-cancer drug bexarotene could inhibit the earliest step of the process and delay the formation of the most toxic form of amyloid-beta aggregates. But only if bexarotene is administered early. 

Reporting their findings in Science Advances (12 February 2016)[1], the team suggest that in future, drugs like bexarotene could be classed as ‘neurostatins’ and used in a preventive manner similar to statins for heart disease.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical JournalDOI: 10.1211/CP.2016.20200696

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