New Drug to Grow Brain Cells May Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer's that appears after the age of 60 is irreversible and type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. But a new drug designed by the scientists from the University of Ulster has the potential to treat the dreaded disease. These drugs have the benefit for keeping our brain cells healthy.
Prof Christian Holscher and his team at the Biomedical Sciences Research Institute tried an experimental drug called (Val8) GLP-1.This drug has the potential to simulate the activity of a protein called GLP-1 which helps body control its response to blood sugar.
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This drug was tested on a healthy mouse and its effects on the brain were noted. It was noticed that (Val8)GLP-1 entered the brain and showed no side-effects but it supported the growth of new brain cells in hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in memory. When they blocked the effect of GLP-1 in the brain, they noticed that the mice gave poor performance on learning and memory task.
The details of this study are being carried in the journal Brain Research.
"Here at the Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, we are really interested in the potential of diabetes drugs for protecting brain cells from damage and even promoting new brain cells to grow. This could have huge implications for diseases like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, where brain cells are lost," said Holscher.
"It is very encouraging that the experimental drug we tested, (Val8)GLP-1, entered the brain and our work suggests that GLP-1 could be a really important target for boosting memory. While we didn't see benefits on learning and memory in these healthy mice, we are keen to test the drugs in mice with signs of Alzheimer's disease, where we could see real improvements."
"This research will help us understand the factors that keep nerve cells healthy, knowledge that could hold vital clues to tackling Alzheimer's. With over half a million people in the UK living with the disease, learning more about how to keep our brain cells healthy is of vital importance. Funding for dementia research lags far behind that of other common diseases, but is essential if we are to realise the true potential of research like this," said Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer's Research UK.