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Human stem cells predict efficacy of Alzheimer drugs
Date:12/6/2013

Why do certain Alzheimer medications work in animal models but not in clinical trials in humans? A research team from the University of Bonn and the biomedical enterprise LIFE & BRAIN GmbH has been able to show that results of established test methods with animal models and cell lines used up until now can hardly be translated to the processes in the human brain. Drug testing should therefore be conducted with human nerve cells, conclude the scientists. The results are published by Cell Press in the journal "Stem Cell Reports".

In the brains of Alzheimer patients, deposits form that consist essentially of beta-amyloid and are harmful to nerve cells. Scientists are therefore searching for pharmaceutical compounds that prevent the formation of these dangerous aggregates. In animal models, certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were found to a reduced formation of harmful beta-amyloid variants. Yet, in subsequent clinical studies, these NSAIDs failed to elicit any beneficial effects.

"The reasons for these negative results have remained unclear for a long time", says Prof. Dr. Oliver Brstle, Director of the Institute for Reconstructive Neurobiology of the University of Bonn and CEO of LIFE & BRAIN GmbH. "Remarkably, these compounds were never tested directly on the actual target cells the human neuron", adds lead author Dr. Jerome Mertens of Prof. Brstle's team, who now works at the Laboratory of Genetics in La Jolla (USA). This is because, so far, living human neurons have been extremely difficult to obtain. However, with the recent advances in stem cell research it has become possible to derive limitless numbers of brain cells from a small skin biopsy or other adult cell types.

Scientists transform skin cells into nerve cells

Now a research team from the Institute for Reconstructive Neurobiology and the Department of Neurology of the Bonn University Medical Center together with colleagues fro
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Contact: Dr. Oliver Brüstle
r.neuro@uni-bonn.de
49-228-688-5500
University of Bonn
Source:Eurekalert  

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