As scientists continue to research the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, researchers have discovered an anti-cancer drug has positive results for this age-related medical condition.
In the study, conducted by researchers from the University of British Columbia, they discovered the role of the blood-brain barrier in allowing the passage of harmful proteins easily.
The blood-brain barrier is a membrane that blocks the entry of harmful molecules, and thus is key to maintaining the health of the organ and the human body as a whole, and its breakdown can allow harmful proteins such as tau and beta-amyloid to enter the brain, seeding toxic plaques associated with cognitive decline.
In the research, the results of which were published in the journal EBioMedicine, the scientists studied the possibility of activating the factor that prevents the irregular formation of blood vessels, which led them to a chemotherapy drug, axitinib.
Commenting on the results of the study, the lead author of the research, Dr. Shahat Singh, said, “Axitinib, the anti-cancer drug we used, blocks the receptor tyrosine kinase from reaching the brain, thus preventing the abnormal growth of blood vessels.”
Working with mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease, the scientists administered axitinib over a month and then used molecular analysis to study the effects on the rodents.
The analysis showed a significant reduction in the growth of abnormal blood vessels, leakage of the blood-brain barrier, and the formation of amyloid plaques.
Subsequently, tests were performed to assess cognition and memory in the mice, including maze tests and fear and conditioning tests, which showed good cognitive results.
The study authors concluded that more research is needed, and elderly people are involved in clinical trials, to verify with certainty the feasibility of this drug in treating and stopping Alzheimer’s.
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