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article imageNew drug for Alzheimer's discovered Special

By Andy Madden     May 7, 2009 in Health
American scientists have achieved a major breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimer's by reversing memory loss in mice with an experimental new drug.
According to the BBC, the drugs called HDAC inhibitors restored memory loss in the mice and improved their ability to learn new tasks.
The newly developed drugs act upon the Alzheimer's gene histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2), regulates the expression of a plethora of genes implicated in plasticity - the brain's ability to change in response to experience - and memory formation. (BBC)
Lead researcher Professor Li-Huei Tsai explained:
"To our knowledge, HDAC inhibitors have not been used to treat Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
“But now that we know that inhibiting HDAC2 has the potential to boost synaptic plasticity, synapse formation and memory formation.
"In the next step, we will develop new HDAC2-selective inhibitors and test their function for human diseases associated with memory impairment to treat neurodegenerative diseases." (BBC)
With HDAC inhibitor treatment for humans with Alzheimer’s still 10 years away Andrew Scheuber, Alzheimer's Research Trust spokesman explained that the time factor is based on the length of trials time, he said: “Drugs like these may need a phase two trial involving a very small amount of people and a phase three trial period that could involve thousands.”
When asked if the economic downturn could affect Alzheimer's research Mr Scheuber said that it was severely underfunded. He said: “We get Government funding of £17 million a year when we should get around £50 million. Alzheimer's research gets eight times less funding than cancer research yet because of our ageing population dementia costs the tax-payer more.”
The chief executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, Rebecca Wood, said: "This is promising research which improves our understanding of memory loss in Alzheimer's, We desperately need to fund more research to head off a forecast doubling the UK population living with dementia." (BBC)
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