IRB de Barcelona have discovered the ability of four drugs, two from the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and two antihypertensives, to be effective in reversing Alzheimer’s in rodents and neutralizing symptoms.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia in Western societies and an estimated 24 million people in the world suffer from it. Researcher Patrick Aloy, head of the laboratory of Structural Bioinformatics and Network Biology of the
IRB Barcelona, has led a study through which it has been achieved reverse Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice by administering drugs that are currently used as antihypertensive and anti-inflammatory drugs in humans.
In this work, the scientists led by Aloy have characterized Alzheimer’s disease in three stages: beginner, intermediate and advanced. For each of the stages they have analyzed the behavior of the animals, they have studied the affectations in the brain (specifically, of the hippocampus at the tissue level) and they have carried out a molecular analysis quantifying the expression of genes and protein levels.
This has allowed to describe the process of development of the pathology with a level of detail hitherto unknown and compare it, too, with healthy aging.
“What we have observed is that, although Alzheimer’s shares characteristics with accelerated aging, it is also affected by totally different processes of aging,” explains Aloy.
«This disease is caused by the abnormal accumulation of specific proteins, and we have seen that, in some cases, it is not due to overproduction but to an error in its elimination“, Add.
Chemical Checker: detection of molecules with the greatest potential
Once the disease was characterized, the researchers used the Chemical Checker, a tool computational developed by the same research group, to find drugs, available on the market, that would reverse the effects at the cellular level. The tool made it possible to identify a series of possible candidates that were tested in different Alzheimer’s study models in mice.
“Epidemiological studies already pointed to a lower development of Alzheimer’s in people who regularly took anti-inflammatory drugs, but this fact had not been correlated with a specific drug or mechanism. The results we publish now they are certainly promising, and we hope that further research can be done based on them, because they could represent a paradigm shift in the treatment of this disease, “says Aloy.
Early diagnosis of the disease
In addition to opening new avenues of study for treatment, the characterization of the different stages of the disease, which is published in this work, favors its early detection. Diagnosing Alzheimer’s at an early stage, when the damage to the brain is still minimal, is one of the main focuses of study to combat this disorder and reduce its symptoms.