New Drug Shows Potential To Block Alzheimer’s Disease

A new drug is showing some promise in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. The drug is currently used to treat stroke survivors. Specifically, scientists are giving the drug to people with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. 

 

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.7 million people in the United States are living with the condition.

Current medications can only relieve some symptoms of the disease, and there is currently no effective drug that can stop the disease’s progression.

Recently, researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) tested anew compound on patients diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

new drug

Credit: Lazic et al., 2019

New Drug: 3K3A-APC

3K3A-APC is a modified version of activated C protein, which is a blood-based protein that protects brain cells and blood vessels from inflammation induced damage.

This drug has already been tested in animal models of multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and traumatic brain injury with good results.

Currently, 3K3A-APC is used to treat people suffering from brain bleeds following a stroke. It reduces bleeding in the brain with few side effects or safety concerns.

The researchers tested 3K3A-APC on mice bred for high risk for Alzheimer’s disease. These animals produce high levels of beta-amyloid and demonstrate both cognitive decline and  brain inflammation.

 

The results showed no memory deficits, no brain inflammation, and blood flow was normal. Indeed, 3K3A-APC significantly reduced inflammation.

3K3A-APC works by reducing an enzyme called BACE1. BACE!1  is necessary for the formation of beta-amyloid; without it, plaques cannot form.

 

3K3A-APC blocks the production of the enzyme rather than blocking the enzyme itself. Researchers believe that blocking the enzyme before it can even form during the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease is preferable. Early blocking might be more effective as it prevents significant beta-amyloid build up and the development of plaques. Consequently, there is better brain blood flow and less inflammation.

These results are promising and more research is planed to further test 3K3A-APC.

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