Those who have a predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease may be able to use certain cancer treatments to prevent the onset and progression of dementia. According to a recent study, experts may be able to modify the cancer medications for Alzheimer’s by analyzing the brain proteins of those with a genetic risk for the disease, as well as, conducting experimental trials in animals and human tissue samples.
Scientists at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), which is a component of the National Institutes of Health, as well as teams supported by the NIA at the University of California, San Francisco, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, have contributed to the study results.
Researchers took biopsies from the brains of younger, deceased individuals (age range 33-45 years) who had the APOE4 mutation – making them predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease. Variations of certain neural proteins similar to those observed in cerebral tissue of older individuals with Alzheimer’s disease were found in the biopsies of younger individuals.
Cerebral biopsies from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, the Religious Orders Study, and other NIA-funded research were used in the analysis. Tests were then conducted to see whether current FDA-approved or investigational medications for other disorders were able to influence any of the observed proteins.
They found that Dasatinib, a medicine licensed for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia, and an investigational liver cancer medication both affect proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease, indicating that both drugs may be used to treat the condition. They significantly decreased swelling of brain tissue, amyloidosis – the buildup of altered proteins, and tau activation in cultured cells, underlining their viability as clinical testing candidates.
The next stage might be clinical trials for these medications. The timetable for testing may be shortened for drugs previously authorized by the FDA or assessed for safety in other studies.
Although additional studies are necessary, experts are hopeful that both of these drugs could be repurposed to help treat one of the most prevalent and oppressive diseases.
The original research can be found in Science Advances.