Science
4:27 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

UK Researcher Helps Develop Promising Alzheimer's Drug

LEXINGTON, Ky. - When a person gets an infection or suffers a head injury, it’s normal for inflammation to occur in the brain so it can heal. But when Alzheimer’s starts to set in, the inflammation becomes dysregulated, resulting in nerve cell damage and memory problems.

A new drug developed by researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Kentucky could help prevent that problem. 

“We administered the drug early in the course of the disease, just when these pro-inflammatory molecules are beginning to develop. And by doing that, we reduced the inflammation back down to normal and we prevented the nerve cell damage and the behavioral deficits,” says Dr. Linda Van Eldik, director of the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.

The study was conducted on mice, and Van Eldik says a biotech company is now developing a similar drug and doing initial tests on humans.

“This disease of course is extremely devastating and prevalent. Over five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and the number is growing exponentially so we need to come up with effective therapies soon.”

The study’s findings were recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience.