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Aiming at Multiple Alzheimer's Proteins May be Key to Success
Date:10/21/2008

r's-related proteins before they begin to misfold and start their toxic buildup. "Right now, we're treating the symptoms of the disease -- only slowing cognitive decline and memory loss in patients," says Dr. Weaver. "My colleagues and I are using this grant to design drugs that may one day prevent or even reverse progression of Alzheimer's disease."

The design strategy begins at Dalhousie University where researchers are creating new, unique drug compounds and testing each drug's ability to bind to both proteins and prevent shape changes. To date, Dr. Weaver's laboratory has produced more than 240 variations of the most effective compound. Once identified, these synthesized compounds are sent for further analysis to Edwin De Pauw, Ph.D. and his group at the University of Liege in Belgium. Promising compounds that pass this second step in testing then move on to preliminary safety and efficacy investigations using animal models in the laboratory of Ottavio Arancio, M.D., Ph.D. at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

Since accepting the award from AHAF last year, this international team has made impressive progress. These easily reproducible chemical compounds have shown a remarkable ability to prevent misfolding of both proteins in the Dalhousie laboratory. This activity has been confirmed at the University of Liege, and exciting results are reported at Columbia. "Our lead compound is very effective in mice with conditions similar to Alzheimer's. It can be delivered orally, inhibits aggregation of these proteins, protects brain cells from beta amyloid damage, restores normal memory functioning and shows no toxicity at high doses," says Dr. Weaver. According to AHAF's Director of Research Grants, Guy Eakin, Ph.D., "This work is particularly important because Alzheimer's disease patients are often taking several medications for other health conditions. Rather than give them a 'cocktail' of drugs that might produce harmful interactions, Dr. Wea
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SOURCE American Health Assistance Foundation
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