Last year a drug known as AC253, which was intended to help diabetics, was pulled from clinical trials and never made it to market. But medical researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered that the same drug, AC253, could block the toxic effects of amyloid protein that lead to brain cell death.
Drs. Jack Jhamandas and Ryoichi Kimura tested the memory of animals with normal brain cells against those with Alzheimer’s. When the animals with Alzheimer’s were given AC253 and the memory tests were repeated, the memory of those with Alzheimer’s was restored to levels close to those with normal brain cells.
Dr. Jhamandas told Science Daily, “This is very important because it tells us that drugs like this might be able to restore memory, even after Alzheimer’s disease may have set in.”
Amyloid protein is found in exceedingly high amounts in the memory and cognition parts of the brains of patient’s with Alzheimer’s and diminishes memory.
For AC253 to effective, however, pharmaceutical companies will need to find a way for the drug to penetrate brain cells more easily.
“I think what we discovered may be part of the solution but i can’t say it will be the solution,” added Jhamandas in his interview with Science Daily. “There is a long list of drugs and approaches that haven’t panned out as expected in the fight against Alzheimer’s. I don’t think one drug or approach will solve Alzheimer’s disease because it’s a complicated disease but I am cautiously optimistic about our discovery and its implications.”