Thursday, February 9, 2012

Landreth scores a hit against Alzheimer's with bexarotene

Tomorrow’s edition of the journal Science will report on how Professor Gary Landreth, about whom I recently posted, and his team discovered that the cancer drug bexarotene can quickly reverse Alzheimer’s symptoms in animal models. Within 72 hours of administration, the medication  halved the number of plaque deposits closely associated with this degenerative brain disease.  Additionally, the signs of cognitive and memory deficits disappeared within that same brief time period.

For more details, watch this two-minute video from Case Western:


henry brown said...

Particularly interesting if people start getting genetic testing for ApoE, and if they have relatives with autopsy proven 'early' AD....does that just about wrap up the last few posts?

Theresa Matthews said...

The cholinesterase inhibitors are best sellers, a big hit, successfully advertised everywhere these days despite having achieved the Do Not Use status in "Worst pills, Best pills."

So, what makes dementia drug therapy a hit? How long does it stay a hit if major adverse events aren't robustly reported or worked up in a system where mistakes are not allowed?

Call me a doubting Thomas but before I start giving a dementia researcher too much applause and too many accolades in this arena: what I think as a consumer and patient advocate makes a hit and what neurology thinks constitutes a hit hinges completely on open dialogue and collaboration. Unfortunately, I doubt too many hands-on caregivers/patient advocates were present at the Alzheimer's Research Forum in Chicago to hear the "i.e." discussion:

"Hence, this drug minimally represents a test of the role of Aβ in AD and, maximally, may represent an AD therapeutic, he suggested. The presentation elicited a discussion of the utility of the drug in ApoE4-positive individuals, i.e., if ApoE4 represents a toxic gain of function, then bexarotene-induced increases in ApoE4 may exacerbate AD. Landreth noted that the drug has been in use for roughly a decade without reports of cognitive deficits as a side effect."

Who will stand up for the patient when there is a Whoopsie daisy?

Medicine seems awfully eager to get ahold of that prized genetic data they need to help me and my kin plan for better health. Luckily I understand that heart healthy and brain healthy are factors I have in my control. Luckily after I pay into the expensive American health insurance system and support medicare/medicaid, there is nothing left over to be preventative thereby limiting my contact with a system that started crumbling as those who waged "War Against the Weak" dominated key postitions. As seen through the eyes of a CJD victim, ironically that may prove the single most advantageous benefit I can afford my family.

Kudos to the "patient champion(s)" that stood up to ask the questions I would have wanted a medical practitioner to ask on my behalf. You are my version of true heroes.

Philip Sen said...

This study really gives hope to all of us. In addition with this, researchers also noted that the mice's memory for smells improved with the treatment.(As humans, our ability to detect or distinguish between odors often deteriorates as Alzheimer's progresses.)
Regards with this, read more here