Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Finding May Aid Alzheimer’s Treatment Options

A protein recently found in the brain -- gamma secretase activating protein or GSAP -- increases the production of beta-amyloid, the presumed culprit in Alzheimer’s disease. In a mouse model, reducing GSAP led to reduced beta-amyloid disposition ( Nature, 2010, 467, pp 95-99.) This prompts in turn the appealing notion that a drug could be found to inhibit GSAP and thereby forestall or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Imatinib (Gleevec, used to treat chronic myelocytic leukemia or CML) does inhibit GSAP and, in laboratory models, reduces beta-amyloid creation. Unfortunately, imatinib does not cross the blood brain barrier so it cannot be used clinically. A search is now on for a compound that acts like imatinib yet can get into the brain. If found, it would be a very exciting discovery.

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