Dementia – Drug can grow new nerve cells


Dementia is one of the world’s fastest growing diseases. Worldwide, there are now an estimated 24 million people living with some form of dementia. Dementia which is commonly known as loss of memory is basically not a specific disease. It is a descriptive term for a collection of symptoms (such as personality changes, behavioral problems, and memory problems) that can be caused by a number of conditions that affect the brain. It is the most common form of Alzheimer’s. 

Dementia is related to functioning of brain and nerve cells.  Researchers have made some advancement that could potentially help in treating dementia. Recently researchers identified a drug that can promote growth of new nerve cells and replace the damaged ones.

About the study
Researchers at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, conducted experiment on mice, wherein, 1000 different chemicals were injected in brains of mice and its effects were observed.  The researchers found that a compound named P7C3 exhibited promising results.  The focus was on P7C3 cells, neuroprotective compound, due to its medication friendly properties as acknowledged by Dr. Steven McKnight.

The study reveled that P7C3 was successful in beneficially affecting hippocampus, part of brain responsible for learning and memory, by correcting deficit in the brains of adult mice.  These deficits, if not corrected would affect a gene, required for the survival of newborn hippocampal neurons.

The study also revealed that P7C3 treated aged rats after two months.  Aged rats treated with P7C3 outperformed the rats, who were on placebo, on a water maze test. 

There is more good news;...

researchers found that a compound A20, derivative of P7C3, was found to be even more protective than the parent compound. The A20 derivative proved 300 times more potent than one of the compounds currently in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease.

Views on this recent discovery
Clive Ballard, professor and director of research, Alzheimer’s Society in the US, says: “This important piece of research could lead to the development of new drugs to produce new nerve cells but we don’t yet know if it could be used to treat dementia.”

Thomas Insel, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said, “This striking demonstration of a treatment that stems age-related cognitive decline in living animals points the way to potential development of the first cures that will address the core illness process in Alzheimer’s disease.”

The identification of chemicals like P7C3 and A20 is a good step for the medical community as it presents potential to attack Alzheimer’s at genetic level.  I hope that in coming future researchers are able to utilize this finding to develop a drug for memory loss disease.

Source: usanews

4 Responses

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