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Single Pill Therapy for Alzheimer's Parkinson's and MS

Update Date: Jul 25, 2012 08:55 AM EDT
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Scientists have created a single pill which they claim, could be the answer to variety of brain problems including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis.

The pill which can be consumed orally is designed in such a way that it protects the brain by fighting away the effects of inflammation.

A study on animals suggested that the therapy could work against a wide range of conditions including motor neurone disease and complications from traumatic brain injury, reports the Telegraph.

MW151 and MW189, two drugs in the new class, have already been patented by researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago.

The drugs prevent the overproduction of damaging brain proteins called cytokines. These proteins are responsible for a number of degenerative brain conditions as well as brain damage following a stroke or an injury, by killing nerve cells and damaging connections within the brain.

Cytokines cause the synapses, the connections between brain cells, to misfire. Eventually the whole organisation of the brain falls into disarray, and neurons die.

The researchers said that in case of mice, the ones which were genetically programmed to develop Alzheimer's did not contract a full-blown condition when they were given the drug when they were six months old (when the level of cytokines starts rising in them).

In humans, the drug induction stage will be the time when they start showing symptoms such as memory loss, researchers said.

When the mice's brains were analyzed when they reached 11 months of age, it was found that the level of damaging proteins was moderate in them, However, those who had not been treated, displayed unusually high levels of cytokines and also showed signs of brain deterioration.

"The drug protected against the damage associated with learning and memory impairment. Giving this drug before Alzheimer's memory changes are at a late stage may be a promising future approach to therapy," Co-author Dr Linda Van Eldik, director of the Sanders-Brown Centre on Aging at the University of Kentucky was quoted as saying by Telegraph.

Results are yet to be released from the first Phase I trial assessing the drug's safety in human patients. However, this is the first step in winning clinical approval for a new treatment.

The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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