Experimental drug massively reduces Alzheimer's risk

Can a stroke medication help Alzheimer's?

Experts have now found that an experimental drug used to treat strokes appears to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's.

The University of Southern California scientists found in their current investigation that a drug used to treat stroke could also be used to prevent Alzheimer's. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Journal of Experimental Medicine".

What does 3K3A-APC do?

When mice were given a drug called 3K3A-APC, their brains were protected from building toxic proteins and inhibited possible memory loss. 3K3A-APC is already used in experimental medicine to reduce bleeding in the brain tissue of stroke patients. 3K3A-APC is a genetically modified version of a human blood protein, which is called activated protein C, the scientists explain. Activated protein C reduces inflammation and protects nerve cells and cells that line the blood vessels from programmed cell suicide, which is also known as apoptosis, the researchers say.

What is amyloid-β?

Due to its neuroprotective, vasculoprotective and anti-inflammatory activities in several models of neurological diseases, the experts used a mouse model for Alzheimer's to investigate whether 3K3A-APC can also protect the brain from the toxic effects of amyloid-β-toxin, according to study author Dr. Zlokovic from the University of Southern California. So-called amyloid-β-proteins accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, which then leads to a progressive loss of nerve cells and reduces blood flow through the vital organ.

3K3A-APC reduced amyloid-β accumulation by 50 percent

Using injections in genetically engineered Alzheimer's mice, the scientists found that 3K3A-APC reduced amyloid-β accumulation by up to 50 percent in just four months compared to animals from a control group that were not given 3K3A-APC and in which there was cognitive decline, a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier and neuroinflammation.

3K3A-APC prevents production of BACE1

3K3A-APC prevents nerve cells from forming the enzyme BACE1, which is necessary for the production of amyloid-β. Although inhibitors of BACE1 have been tested previously, this study suggests that blocking enzyme production can be an effective approach, especially in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease before amyloid-β permanently damages the brain, the study authors explain. Current data support the notion that 3K3A-APC has potential for effective anti-amyloid-β therapy in early Alzheimer's, says Dr. Zlokovic. 3K3A-APC has shown high safety in clinical studies in stroke patients as well as in multiple sclerosis (MS) and brain trauma studies, the doctor adds.

More research is needed

Amyloid remains one of the most important goals for drug development. However, the study is an early stage research using a drug that has not yet been approved for use in people with a stroke. As with any research on mice, the interpretation of the results must also be handled with care. Much more work is needed before such a drug can be used for people with Alzheimer's or other neurodegenerative disease.

It should also be recalled that in the past many drugs that had shown similar beneficial effects in mouse models could not bring about improvements in Alzheimer's patients. However, the results of the study open up a promising path for future research into therapies for the prevention of Alzheimer's. (as)

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Video: Are Infections Causing Alzheimers Disease? Robert Moir. TEDxCambridgeSalon (January 2022).