Scientist created an experimental drug that reverses Alzheimer’s disease by restoring blood-brain barrier in mice and reinvigorating a cellular cleaning mechanism to remove unwanted proteins.
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a neurological dementia that gradually progresses and affects thinking, orientation and memory, and causes impairment in intellect, social behaviour and memory. Over 50 million people suffer from AD globally. Current AD treatments are not so much effective. However, a team of researchers at University of British Columbia explored the role of blood-brain barrier in the onset of Alzheimer’s by using pre-existing cancer therapy drugs. The research showed promising results where the drug reversed cognitive deterioration in mice.
Some of the earlier studies show, how the leak in blood-brain barrier act as early signs of Alzheimer’s and how it enables penetration of blood-clotting proteins into brain causing damage to the synapses. In this new study, the scientists studied proliferating of blood vessels due to these leaks in the blood-brain barrier. Further this investigation directed the team towards the idea of an agent that prevents uneven formation of blood vessels could also stop process of these problematic leaks, and the team thought of a pre-approved chemotherapy drug known as Axitinib. According to the scientists, Axitinib blocks tyrosine kinase receptor in the brain, which encourages formation of blood vessels. By blocking these receptors, Axitinib averts downstream effects of unnatural blood vessels.
When experimented on mice and rodents, the drug significantly reduced blood-brain barrier leakage, blood vessel growth and development of amyloid plaques. Moreover, as the results, the drug therapy also reduced cognitive impairment in the animals. The research is still in its earlier stage, more work regarding to the safety of the chemotherapy drug is needed to bring this treatment into human clinical trials. Yet, the team claims that the results are promising and it could be a potential treatment to manage Alzheimer’s disease in the future.