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Anti-cancer drug viewed as possible Alzheimer's treatment doesn't work in UF study
Date:5/23/2013

itive abilities," Felsenstein said of the 2012 paper.

He said the results of the original study were surprising, given decades of research that had failed to find a therapy successful in dismantling amyloid plaques.

"We can shut down the production of amyloid in these animal models and the deposits in these animal models don't disappear," Felsenstein said. "These deposits have been described by some as cement, and it will take a lot to get rid of them. The fact that something could actually make them disappear in literally a couple of days is again very remarkable."

Interested to see how bexarotene might work to break down amyloid plaques, Felsenstein and Borchelt selected mice approximately the same age as those used in the 2012 study and orally administered the drug to the mice. Tests confirmed the drug had reached its target genes in the mice, and that it elevated levels of a protein called apolipoprotein E. Some scientists believe one of the forms of this protein may prevent the buildup of amyloid brain plaques in people who don't have Alzheimer's disease.

But elevated levels of the protein in the mice studied by UF researchers seemed to have no effect on the animals' amyloid plaques. Samples taken after seven days of treatment with bexarotene showed no significant difference in the number or size of plaques in the animals' brains. Two teams of researchers from other institutions also were unable to replicate the breakdown of amyloid plaques.

Felsenstein emphasized that his team does not claim the previous study indicating bexarotene's effectiveness is "totally wrong."

"We're just saying right now it's extremely difficult to replicate and there may be little nuances, that there's something that we don't quite understand," he added. Felsenstein and Borchelt both work at UF's Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease.

The other two research groups who published papers in this we
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Contact: Rossana Passaniti
passar@shands.ufl.edu
352-273-8569
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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