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Novel Drug Path for Alzheimer’s

Traditional use of medications to treat brain disorders ranging from cancer to dementia is complicated by the body’s innate protective mechanism that stringently limits which substances can be transported into the brain.

This highly selective blood-brain barrier stimulated a Tel Aviv University researcher to take an alternate route — through the nose — to administer medications to attack the plaque formation associated with Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Administering a harmless bacterial virus known as a “filamentous phage” through nasal passages, Prof. Beka Solomon sends her phages to the brain where they lock onto plaques associated with Alzheimer’s.

“Phages dissolve plaque,” Prof. Solomon explains. “The phages are going into the brain, they do their work, and then the body gets rid of them.” She recently presented her findings in Canada at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

Alzheimer’s is a debilitating disease that leads to memory loss, confusion, and much suffering for the afflicted and their loved ones. There is currently no drug on the market that can cure or effectively stop progression of the disease.

Drug developers, says Prof. Solomon, “tend to focus on dissolving and preventing plaque formation, but the new approach prevents the unwanted side-effects shown by other therapies.”

The idea of sending a treatment through the nasal passage was a logical one for Prof. Solomon, since Alzheimer’s plaques first appear in the olfactory bulb. That’s why one of the early symptoms of the much-dreaded disease is loss of smell.

To test her hypothesis, Prof. Solomon treated mice with the phage, and found that those mice which had exhibited Alzheimer’s symptoms regained their sense of smell and demonstrated memory improvement. After one year of treatment, they had 80 percent fewer plaques than untreated mice.

“Beka is a real pioneer in developing an immunotherapeutic approach for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Irit Ben-Chlouch, Director of Business Development, Life Sciences at Ramot, the university’s commercial arm.

“She was the first to show the disease can be treated using antibodies and, as the main focus of her lab, has developed several different breakthrough approaches.”

Source: Tel Aviv University

Novel Drug Path for Alzheimer’s

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2016). Novel Drug Path for Alzheimer’s. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 18, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/08/20/novel-drug-path-for-alzheimers/1158.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 28 Jun 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Jun 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.