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Antiviral drugs may slow Alzheimer's progression
Date:10/17/2011

is and found that treatment of HSV1-infected cells with acyclovir, the most commonly used antiviral agent, and also with two other antivirals, did indeed decrease the accumulation of β-amyloid and P-tau, as well as decreasing HSV1 replication as we would expect.

"This is the first study investigating antiviral effects on AD-like changes and we conclude that since antiviral agents reduce greatly β-amyloid and P-tau levels in HSV1-infected cells, they would be suitable for treating Alzheimer's disease. The great advantage over current AD therapies is that acyclovir would target only the virus, not the host cell or normal uninfected cells. Further, these agents are very safe and are relatively inexpensive.

"Also, by targeting a cause of Alzheimer's disease, other viral damage, besides β-amyloid and P-tau, which might be involved in the disease's pathogenesis, would also be inhibited.

"The next stage of our research subject to funding will focus on finding the most suitable antiviral agent or combination of two agents that operate via different mechanisms for use as treatment. We then need to investigate the way in which the virus and the genetic risk factor interact to cause the disease, as that might lead to further novel treatments.

"Eventually, we hope to begin clinical trials in humans but this is still some way off yet and again will require new funding."

The study, carried out with Dr Matthew Wozniak and other colleagues in the Faculty of Life Sciences, is published in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) One journal.


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Contact: Aeron Haworth
aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk
44-161-275-8383
University of Manchester
Source:Eurekalert

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