Cancer Drug May Help Alzheimer’s Disease

alzheimer's patientThere is no cure for the degenerative brain disease called Alzheimer’s, and current conventional treatments have a limited effect. However, research into a drug used to treat skin cancer may show “stunning” potential to help with Alzheimer’s disease.

The drug is called bexarotene. So far, the experiments have only been done on mice. The research was done at Case Western Reserve University.

Alzheimer’s occurs in older people, and symptoms include a pattern of forgetfulness, disorientation,  misplacing things, short attention span, difficulty in performing routine tasks, poor judgment, language problems, problems with thinking, depression, irritability, paranoia, hostility, and lack of initiative. It is also called “Elderly Dementia.”

The disease is not fully understood, and its cause — or causes — are not yet clear. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease cannot properly clear the protein amyloid beta from their brains.  The excessive amount of the protein accumulate as plaque, which blocks synapses and kills nerve cells.

Bexarotene — also known as Targretin — wipes out amyloid beta. In the study, the amount of the protein was reduced by up to 75%. Just 3 days after taking bexarotene, the mice’s behavior returned to normal.

The mice returned to normal behaviors three days after treatment with bexarotene, which is marketed as Targretin.

In the United States, approximately 5.4 million patients have Alzheimer’s. If Targretin proves effecting in human trials, many older adults will benefit.

However, damaged nerve cells cannot be repaired or reversed. The drug would be useful in the very early stages of the disease to prevent further damage. Also, there is no guarantee that the drug will work the same way in humans as it does in mice. Human trials are expected to start soon.

At Natural Eye Care, we caution people to not self-diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. Some of the symptoms can indicate nutritional deficiencies or other conditions. If you are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, check out our web pages about natural approaches for Alzheimer’s. Preventing the disease is always the best course, and we have summarized suggestions for reducing your risk of getting Alzheimer’s.

Source: Case Western Reserve University