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Alzheimer's Drug Might Help Prevent Esophageal Cancer

Experimental med looks promising, researchers say

TUESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- An experimental Alzheimer's drug may help prevent esophageal cancer, a new study shows.

The drug, DBZ, currently in clinical trials for treatment of Alzheimer's disease, is known to have side effects on the lining of the lower colon. The cells that line the colon are similar to those seen in Barrett's esophagus, a condition that can progress to esophageal cancer. Barrett's esophagus occurs when chronic heartburn damages the lining of the esophagus.

Researchers at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands found that DBZ halted the growth of Barrett's esophagus in rats and, in some cases, eliminated the damaged esophageal tissue.

Though the findings suggest that DBZ could be an effective way to treat Barrett's esophagus and prevent esophageal cancer, the drug is still a long way from being tested in human clinical trials, the researchers said.

The study is in the January-February issue of Disease Models & Mechanisms.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about Barrett's esophagus.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Company of Biologists, news release, Jan. 12, 2010

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