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Multiple research teams unable to confirm high-profile Alzheimer's study
Date:5/24/2013

Teams of highly respected Alzheimer's researchers failed to replicate what appeared to be breakthrough results for the treatment of this brain disease when they were published last year in the journal Science.

Those results, presented online Feb. 9, 2012, suggested that the drug bexarotene (marketed as Targretin) could rapidly reverse the buildup of beta amyloid plaques (Aβ) a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease in the brains of mice. According to the authors of the 2012 report, drug treatment quickly removed most of the plaques and brought rapid reversal of the pathological, cognitive and memory deficits related to the onset of Alzheimer's.

However, the new reports from extensive and carefully controlled studies did not show any reduction in the number of plaques or total area occupied by the plaques during or after treatment. These results are described in three "technical comments" one of which comes from researchers at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Washington University in St Louis and University of Tubingen in Germany to be published in the May 24, 2013, issue of Science.

"The drug has no impact on plaque burden in three strains that exhibit Aβ amyloidosis," according to that group's comment. "We have failed to support earlier findings by Cramer et al that Targretin is efficacious in reducing plaque burden in transgenic mouse models of cerebral Aβ deposition."

Comment co-author Sangram Sisodia, PhD, professor of neurosciences at the University of Chicago, said he and his colleagues were curious about the initial report in 2012.

"We were surprised and excited, even stunned, when we first saw these results presented at a small conference," said Sisodia. "The mechanism of action made some sense, but the assertion that they could reduce the areas of plaque by 50 percent within three days, and by 75 percent in two weeks,
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Contact: John Easton
john.easton@uchospitals.edu
773-795-5225
University of Chicago Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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