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News of plaque-clearing drug tops week of major advances against Alzheimer's disease
Date:2/10/2012

Clarksburg, MD"In the last eight days, scientists have delivered a powerful one-two punch in the fight to defeat Alzheimer's disease," said Stacy Pagos Haller, President and CEO of the American Health Assistance Foundation (AHAF), a nonprofit that identifies and funds exceptionally high-impact research worldwide through its Alzheimer's Disease Research program.

"We are excited about today's announcement by Case Western University researchers that a cancer drug, used in mice studies, appears to help clear out the excess plaque found in the Alzheimer's-disease brain and it does this by enhancing the body's natural defense mechanisms," noted Haller. "This follows last week's announced discovery of how Alzheimer's disease spreads in the brain. The timing of these findings coincides with new proposals in Congress and the White House to increase federal funding for Alzheimer's research. This has been a big week for all who seek to end this disease."

In a study of mice, a research team headed by Case Western University scientist Gary Landreth, Ph.D., found that bexarotenea drug currently used to combat T cell lymphoma helped the body clear out amyloid beta proteins. Alzheimer's disease arises in large part from the body's inability to clear these naturally occurring proteins. As amyloid beta levels increase they tend to aggregate and contribute to the so-called brain "plaques" found in Alzheimer's disease.

Bexarotene appeared to improve brain function in these mice. Study results were published in the journal Science.

"Although this is a mouse study, the results are encouraging, and the drug did its job with unprecedented speed, by targeting ApoE, the primary genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease," said AHAF Vice President for Scientific Affairs Guy Eakin, Ph.D.

"This announcement is particularly exciting because bexarotene achieved regulatory approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration more th
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Contact: Alice L. Kirkman
akirkman@ahaf.org
301-556-9349
AHAF-American Health Assistance Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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