An experimental drug developed to combat Alzheimer’s disease has the potential to prevent inflammation, remove abnormal protein clumps in the brain as well as restore memory in the patients suffering from the neurodegenerative disease, a study has found.
Development of abnormal protein clumps called amyloid plaques and tangled bundles of fibers in the brain — key characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease — causes inflammation in the brain and damage to the neurons. This progressive damage leads to memory loss, confusion and dementia.
The new drug, known as NTRX-07, appears to decrease this inflammation in the brain, while preserving neurons and regenerative cells in the brain, the study stated.
“This drug may reduce inflammation in the brain, which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease,” said lead researcher Mohamed Naguib, Professor at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine in Ohio, US.
The new drug improved removal of abnormal amyloid plaques and improved memory performance and other cognitive skills.
“NTRX-07 uses a different mechanism than many other Alzheimer’s drugs currently available, as it targets the cause of the disease, not just the symptoms,” Naguib said.
In the study conducted on mice, NTRX-07 was found to target CB2 receptors — receptors on the surface of microglia cells or immune cells that typically remove dangerous amyloid plaques in the brain.
The mice treated with NTRX-07 also showed an increase in the levels of SOX2 — protein that helps new brain cells to develop and protect the brain in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
In contrast, mice treated with a placebo showed decreased levels of SOX2, active inflammation in the brain, poor removal of amyloid plaques, and poor memory performance.
The study was presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2016 annual meeting in Chicago, recently.