One expert thinks the new research could produce a drug that could fight the development of amyloid plaque in two ways.
"This is interesting and unexpected," said Dr. Sam Gandy, chairman of the Alzheimer's Association's National Medical and Scientific Advisory Council. "This suggests that it might be possible to design or identify compounds that both modulate generation of amyloid beta and at the same time modulate accumulation of amyloid beta."
Until now, anti-amyloid drugs have fallen into three broad classes: immunotherapies, anti-aggregation compounds, and secretase modulators, Gandy said. "The new work suggests that there exist single drugs that possess both of the latter two activities, thereby supplying an anti-amyloid double whammy," he said.
Another expert thinks this avenue of attack on amyloid plaque looks promising.
"Chronic intake of NSAIDs like ibuprofen appears to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's," said Greg M. Cole, associate director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.
"A subset of NSAIDs that the authors call gamma-secretase modulators appears to reduce the accumulation of the stickiest form of beta amyloid protein that is believed to aggregate and cause the disease," Cole said. "This means that the known protective NSAIDs may be a double threat against Alzheimer's and help protect against it if they are taken early for prevention."
For more on Alzheimer's disease, visit the Alzheimer's Association.
SOURCES: Todd E. Golde M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla.; Sam Gandy, M.D., chairman, Alzheimer's Association National Medical and Scientific Advisory Council, Chicago; Greg M. Cole, Ph.D., neuroscientist, Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, and
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