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Rejected Alzheimer's drug shows new potential
Date:7/31/2012

ion behind latrepirdine in the current study, which is supported by the Cure Alzheimer's Fund.

Dr. Gandy's team randomly administered either latrepirdine or placebo to mice engineered to present the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and found that the drug halted both behavioral decline and progression of neuropathology. In evaluating how latrepirdine improved memory, John Steele, PhD, a neuroscience graduate student working with Dr. Gandy, and Lenard Lachenmayer, MD, a postdoctoral fellow working under the supervision of Zhenyu Yue, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurology at Mount Sinai, found that the drug enhanced autophagy, the so-called "self-eating" process of cells that protects the brain from neurodegeneration.

"When we learned that latrepirdine failed in patients in the United States in 2010, scientists around the world were disappointed and perplexed," Dr. Gandy said. "We wanted to find out why the drug did so well in Russia but then showed no effect in the global studies. The findings from our animal model studies indicated that this drug should not be discarded, and that, if its mechanism of action can be optimized, it still has potential."

Dr. Sano points out that not only did latrepirdene have significant and sustained effect in the Russian study but it also showed a mild effect in one study of patients with Huntington's disease.

"Since cognitive benefit is what really matters to patients and families, it is critical that we explore every mechanism by which it might occur," Dr. Sano said.

"While this is just the beginning, our research shows that this previously cast-off drug still has strong therapeutic promise," Dr. Gandy said. "Autophagy drugs are believed to hold great promise for a range of neurodegenerative diseases, and these data raise the question of whether further basic science work on latrepirdine might lead to optimization of the drug so that a more potent drug could be developed, and sub
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Contact: Mount Sinai Press Office
newsmedia@mssm.edu
212-241-9200
The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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