Salk Drug May Reverse Alzheimer’s Damage

A new drug could help treat millions of people living with the disease and it might even offer a cure, according to researchers

By Diana Guevara and Sarah Grieco
|  Tuesday, May 14, 2013  |  Updated 6:48 AM PDT
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Salk Drug May Reverse Alzheimer's Damage

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Salk Drug May Reverse Alzheimer's Damage

Scientists at the Salk Institute in San Diego have developed a new drug that reduced memory loss in mice, which may help Alzheimer patients.
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Scientists at the Salk Institute in San Diego have developed a new drug that reduced memory loss in mice, which may help Alzheimer patients.

The new drug could help treat millions of people living with the disease and it might even offer a cure, according to researchers.

Researchers at the Salk Institute said all of the current Alzheimer's treatments just manage the symptoms of the disease, while this one would treat the disease itself.

The drug is called J-147.  Scientists put the drug in the food of 20-month-old genetically engineered mice.

Researchers said with just three months of treatment, the drug reduced the memory loss in the mice and significantly slowed down their Alzheimer’s.

The Salk team treated mice using a therapeutic strategy that they say more accurately reflects the human symptomatic stage of Alzheimer's.

Usually when Alzheimer's drugs are tested on mice, the mice receive treatments before they have Alzheimer's. But in this case, researchers waited until the mice were really old and had severe memory loss.

“So this really does have the potential to be disease modifying so in addition to what's already out there that helps memory problems for a short period of time we expect that J-147 would do the same thing.,” said Marguerite Prior, a research associate at Salk Institute

Meaning this drug could hopefully stop the progression of the disease, if not even cure it.

The team hopes to raise the $1.5 million they need to get this drug to clinical trials. Once they do that, they'll be able to determine whether the drug will work on humans.

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