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A Phase III Alzheimer's Drug Increases Levels of Beta Amyloid in the Brain - But Still Provides Benefits
Date:7/14/2009

ecent evidence suggests that dimebolin (Dimebon((R)), Medivation) may improve cognitive function in aged rodents and in people suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimer's, but how the drug produces these benefits remains unclear.

Samuel Gandy, MD, PhD, Mount Sinai Professor in Alzheimer's Disease Research; Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry; and Associate Director, Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, and colleagues John Cirrito PhD, and David M. Holtzman, MD, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, conducted a series of experiments in cells and in Alzheimer's mouse models to assess the effects of dimebolin on beta amyloid and other brain proteins known to be related to Alzheimer's disease.

Beta amyloid is a protein that is the main constituent of amyloid plaques found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. It is widely considered a key player in the development and progression of Alzheimer's. The goal of anti-amyloid drugs that are currently in clinical trials is to reduce beta amyloid levels in the brain.

In a surprising result, the researchers at WashingtonUniversity in St. Louis found that treatment with dimebolin caused an acute increase in brain beta amyloid levels in the animal models.

"This result is highly unexpected in what may prove to be a clinically beneficial Alzheimer's drug," Gandy said. "We need more research to further clarify how dimebolin affects beta amyloid levels in the brain."

"A number of ideas need to be pursued. It may turn out that the drug works by getting toxic amyloid out of brain nerve cells. Or, the effects of dimebolin on other brain systems may override its effect on increasing beta amyloid. Finally, the drug's beneficial actions might have nothing to do with amyloid, which, if true, indicates the existence of i
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SOURCE Alzheimer's Association
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