Cancer Drug Cures "Human" Alzheimer's in Fruit Flies and Rats
September 25, 2012 3:23 PM
Newly discovered compounds also could provide more cancer treatment options
One of the key symptoms of many kinds of
late-stage Alzheimer's disease
is the creation of so called amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques -- insoluble clumps of protein that deposit in the brain. The culprit appears to be overactive epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which tells nearby cells to constantly produce the plaque, preventing the body's natural healing mechanisms from carrying it away.
I. Cancer Drugs "Cure" Alzheimer's Symptoms in Flies and Rats
Cerrtain kinds of cancers also express EGRF, which contributes to their growth. Two kinds of drugs -- erlotinib (Tarceva) and gefitinib (Iressa) -- have been found to suppress EGRF production, halting tumor growth and allowing the body's immune system to clear out the cancer. Both drugs have a higher success rate that traditional chemotherapy, though some cancers mutate to achieve resistance to the EGRF inhibition. A third EGRF inhibitor drug -- AP26113 -- is showing great promise in clinical trials, even against the resistant mutation.
Putting two and two together,
Professor Yi Zhong
, Ph.D of
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
(CSHL) -- "a private, not-for-profit research and education institution at the forefront of molecular biology and genetics" -- used the two approved drugs (Tarceva and Iressa) in
a clinical trial
on fruit flies (Drosophila) and rats with Alzheimer's disease.
For the fruit fly trial, a human gene encoding Aβ-42 peptide -- a specific 42-amino acid kind of the plaque protein -- was inserted into the fly's genome to induce Alzheimer's. While far "simpler" than the human brain, the fly's simple brain reacts similarly to the human brain when exposed to the plaque. The genetically modified flies exhibited aberrant behavior associated with memory loss. The flies were also genetically modified to increase EGRF production, which -- as in humans -- accelerated the plaque protein's production.
When genetically modified with human EGRF promoting and plaque genes, fruit flies exhibit Alzheimer's symptoms just like humans. [Image Source: The Kitchn]
Dosing the flies with the EGRF blocking drugs the researchers saw the memory loss reversed, and the flies returned to their normal, healthy behavior.
II. New Compounds Work Even Better
Meanwhile, over in China Professor Yi's collaborators dosed memory-loss fruit flies with 2,000
synthetic candidate compounds
, to try to find other EGRF blockers. After two months of trials 45 promising compounds were identified.
Remarkably three of those not only were shown to reduce base EGRF production and memory loss in flies, they also prevented the plaque from promoting EGRF production in a positive feedback loop, a secondary form of inhibition.
Comments Professor Yi, "We were amazed to find that three of these compounds -- designated JKF-006, JKF-011 and JKF-027 -- not only showed effective results in rescuing memory loss in the mice, but also, in test-tube-based experiments prevented Aβ-42 from activating human EGFR."
An amyloid plaque -- a key culprit in Alzheimer's disease [Image Source: CHSL]
The exact mechanism of the EGRF-induced brain damage is unknown, but Professor Yi suspects that it is pathological and not part of the standard cell death/aging process. He states, "[The memory loss] may reflect the acute toxic effects of Aβ, which might be independent of synaptic and neuronal degeneration."
On a second set of trials
he reports, "Eighteen days -- the shortest dosing period we tested -- was sufficient to reverse loss in these mice, although we should note that these animals had few morphological changes in the brain despite their severe memory loss when treatment began."
The results are thrilling in that they open the door to possibly turning off Alzheimer's disease and restoring the memory of many elderly patients to working order, using already available drugs.
Better still, the newly discovered compounds could offer more, better treatment options for both Alzheimer's and cancer patients, given their improved EGRF suppression.
The work was reported in the highly prestigious peer-review journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
Cannabinoid-1 Receptor Protects Brain from Rapid Degeneration
July 13, 2011, 11:35 AM
Researchers Map Neural Connections in Mouse Brain
April 11, 2011, 10:01 AM
New Compound Could Protect Brain Cells, Fight Neurodegenerative Diseases
December 8, 2010, 10:09 AM
PIQ ROBOTTM reveals its new artificial intelligence software
November 29, 2016, 12:59 AM
One more time - Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone Around the World
November 24, 2016, 4:00 AM
Google’s Smart Contact Lens Project gets halted for 2016
November 20, 2016, 7:00 AM
Cell Research Study shows African Americans have greater immune response to infection
November 10, 2016, 1:00 AM
UTHealth Clinical Trial Shows Progress Using Stem Cells to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury
November 8, 2016, 1:00 AM
Uber Partners with Circulation to Pilot Program Connecting Transportation and Digital Health Care
November 6, 2016, 5:00 AM
Most Popular Articles
Surface Pro 5 Rumors - New Release Date and Price
April 22, 2017, 6:45 AM
SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 580 8GD5 – Great Value for the Money
April 20, 2017, 7:47 AM
Apple Watch NikeLab Limited Edition unveiled.
April 22, 2017, 6:20 AM
Dell Inspiron 17 7000 – A Premium Laptop featuring 7th Gen Intel Core i7 in a 2-in-1 Frame.
April 19, 2017, 7:45 AM
Meet the Smartphone with four cameras - Alcatel Flashphone
April 5, 2017, 11:20 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Google Android App – Huge improvement on Nighttime Photography
Apr 27, 2017, 7:40 AM
Google Co-Founder, Sergey Brin has an Airship
Apr 26, 2017, 6:43 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus – Lots of Glass that Breaks Easily
Apr 25, 2017, 7:20 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8 – Warning for Pet Owners
Apr 24, 2017, 5:59 AM
Sound Bars and the Costs?
Apr 23, 2017, 6:30 AM
Link your Brain to Your Computer – In Four Years…Maybe
Apr 22, 2017, 7:03 AM
Google Home can now identify users by their voice.
Apr 21, 2017, 7:15 AM
Amazon Lex – Now Available for Developers.
Apr 20, 2017, 6:58 AM
You can now use Instagram offline on your Android Smartphone
Apr 19, 2017, 8:00 AM
Now you can livestream to YouTube from your mobile device.
Apr 18, 2017, 8:05 AM
Google Home – Is It a Spy Device?
Apr 17, 2017, 7:30 AM
Apple added to self –driving test permit list
Apr 15, 2017, 6:21 AM
Project Scorpio – Coming on June 11
Apr 14, 2017, 6:20 AM
Looks Like Samsung Has Been Forgiven.
Apr 13, 2017, 6:50 AM
United Airlines - Blasted on China’s Social Network and the Stock Market
Apr 12, 2017, 6:50 AM
Amazon's Third-Party Sellers Hacked
Apr 11, 2017, 6:25 AM
Microsoft Surface Pro5 Details Revealed
Apr 9, 2017, 6:41 AM
Own An Android Phone? Then you could be hacked over Wi-FI
Apr 7, 2017, 6:47 AM
Apple confirms iOS 10.3 bug and its effect on iCloud Services
Apr 6, 2017, 6:30 AM
Apple Rolls Out New Version of Apple Music
Apr 5, 2017, 10:35 AM
Apple in the News
Apr 4, 2017, 9:03 AM
Apple iPhones Will Soon Feature Graphics Chips Designed BY Apple
Apr 3, 2017, 6:23 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information