There could be a possible breakthrough in treating Alzheimer’s disease. The likely drug for Alzheimer's could be a compound developed to treat neuropathic pain, according to a new study published online in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.
The source of the new finding is the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute and Anesthesiology Institute. According to the researchers at this institute, the compound acts with a receptor in the brain. This receptor is understood to play a key role in the neurodegenerative process when Alzheimer’s strikes.
Mohamed Naguib, M.D., professor of anesthesiology at this institute is upbeat, for he believes the finding is a likely therapeutic target against the disease, even though it may take many more years before this compound as a potential Alzheimer’s drug is available for treatment.
The compound MDA7, according to the researchers has shown beneficial immune responses. It has shown the effect of limiting the development of the disease.
The response shown in the animal model when treated with MDA7 included restoration of cognition, memory and synaptic plasticity, which is believed to play a key role as neurological foundation of learning and memory.
The progression of Alzheimer’s disease is caused by neuroinflammation, while MDA7 has anti-inflammatory properties. The compound acts on the CB2 receptor, which is one of the two cannabinoid receptors in the body, without the risk of side effects normally associated with cannabinoid compounds.
Currently there is neither a cure nor a treatment to stop or reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s.
However, the U.S Food and Drug Administration has approved four drugs to manage the symptoms. They are called cholinesterase inhibitors. Alzheimer’s patients have low levels of acetylcholine which is a chemical that facilitates nerve cell communication. The available drugs make more of this chemical available for communication between nerve cells by slowing down the breakdown of acetylcholine.