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Alzheimer's Cured by Cancer Drug in Mouse Study

Update Date: Mar 31, 2015 07:44 PM EDT
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Cancer drugs may help cure Alzheimer's disease, according to a new mouse study.

Scientists from Yale School of Medicine were able to restore memory and links between brain cells by injecting an experimental cancer drug in mice.

The latest study involved a drug developed by Astra Zeneca called AZD05030, which failed to treat solid tumors in previous studies. However, the latest research reveals that it helped block damage triggered during the formation of amyloid-beta plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

"With this treatment, cells under bombardment by beta amyloid plaques show restored synaptic connections and reduced inflammation, and the animal's memory, which was lost during the course of the disease, comes back," senior author Stephen M. Strittmatter, the Vincent Coates Professor of Neurology at Yale University said in a news release.

"The speed with which this compound moved to human trials validates our New Therapeutic Uses program model and serves our mission to deliver more treatments to more patients more quickly," added Dr. Christopher P. Austin, M.D., director of NIH's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), which funded the work.

Researchers explained that the new drug seems to block the activation of the enzyme FYN, which leads to the loss of synaptic connections between brain cells, and later neurodegenerative disease.

The findings are published in the journal Annals of Neurology.

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