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Scientists May Have Found a Cure for Alzheimer's

Medical Research Alzheimer's cure 2007

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#1 Rhea

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 07:22 PM

http://www.dailyexpr...osts/view/16839

The condensed version? There's a substance called amyloid that's present in everybody's blood. Most people produce a protein that breaks it down. Alzheimer's patients don't - they have several hundred times too much amyloid in their systems, and it passes the barrier into the brain. The amyloids produce a plaque that eventually kills brain cells.

They've found a synthetic human protein that seems to destroy the amyloids.

:cool:

In lab tests (presumably on animals) it's worked beautifully, and with little or no side effects. It may be a couple of years before human testing is set up.

They also don't know if it will be a one-off injection or if folks will have to have periodic treatments. People will be chosen for the tests according to the amyloid levels in their blood.

Looks really promising, though.

(I didn't put this in EtU on purpose, because this seems like big current news to me.)

Edited by Rhea, 26 August 2007 - 07:29 PM.

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#2 Captain Jack

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 07:50 PM

Hey, that's pretty good news.  :cool:
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#3 BklnScott

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 08:06 PM

It's not clear from the article whether the tests were on animals, or were at an even earlier stage -- It does say that trials (i.e., actual human trials), if they even get to trials, would still be at least a couple of years away.  Several more for the trials to run, and more for topline results to be evaluated and an NDA application to be filed with the FDA (which may demand further trials)...  

A typical timeline for approval of a really good new drug, where everything works out fairly well, is approximately 10 years from compound to launch.  If everything works out perfectly, there are mechanisms in place to accelerate that (studies can be unblinded, for example... and the FDA can move faster)... If that happened, something like 5-7 years--but that's very rare.  

So, not to poo-poo this, 'cause it sounds intriguing, but I wouldn't call it big news.  I mean, they can cure every form of cancer known to man in the laboratory.  They can cure HIV in the laboratory.  None of which has lead to actual cures in people.  (Sorry if that sounds cynical.)

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#4 Chakoteya

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 02:24 AM

View PostScottEVill, on Aug 27 2007, 02:06 AM, said:

So, not to poo-poo this, 'cause it sounds intriguing, but I wouldn't call it big news.  I mean, they can cure every form of cancer known to man in the laboratory.  They can cure HIV in the laboratory.  None of which has lead to actual cures in people.  (Sorry if that sounds cynical.)

No it's not cynical, it's called not raising hopes unrealistically, like the article is doing with the screaming headline.

Stuff in a petrie dish, a computer simulation, or white mice/rats are not homo sapiens. Rattus bodies work differently to ours and although something not being so toxic that it kills them instantly is a good sign, it is no guarantee of safety and efficaciousness.

Then there is  finding healthy people willing to have things put in their bodies to make sure it's safe. That's a whole different thing from testing drugs on desperately sick people who will clutch at any straw for relief. Then there's the double-blind to remove the placebo effect.... I bet a lot of relatives will baulk at that because they want their loved one to get the drug, not a dummy, and are scared of having to cope with someone in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's.

Still, fingers crossed that enough will be found - if it makes it that far.

Edited by Chakoteya, 27 August 2007 - 02:24 AM.

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#5 Mark

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 12:39 PM

Mark: I don't know guys...but this sounds just simple enough where there may be something to it. Simple, usually works best.  :cool:
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#6 Anzibanonzi

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 04:33 PM

View PostChakoteya, on Aug 27 2007, 12:24 AM, said:

No it's not cynical, it's called not raising hopes unrealistically, like the article is doing with the screaming headline.

How else are they going to sell papers?

But you guys are right - it'll be interesting to see how this one plays out!
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#7 Mark

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 04:48 PM

View PostChakoteya, on Aug 27 2007, 02:24 AM, said:

View PostScottEVill, on Aug 27 2007, 02:06 AM, said:

So, not to poo-poo this, 'cause it sounds intriguing, but I wouldn't call it big news.  I mean, they can cure every form of cancer known to man in the laboratory.  They can cure HIV in the laboratory.  None of which has lead to actual cures in people.  (Sorry if that sounds cynical.)

No it's not cynical, it's called not raising hopes unrealistically, like the article is doing with the screaming headline.

Stuff in a petrie dish, a computer simulation, or white mice/rats are not homo sapiens. Rattus bodies work differently to ours and although something not being so toxic that it kills them instantly is a good sign, it is no guarantee of safety and efficaciousness.

Then there is  finding healthy people willing to have things put in their bodies to make sure it's safe. That's a whole different thing from testing drugs on desperately sick people who will clutch at any straw for relief. Then there's the double-blind to remove the placebo effect.... I bet a lot of relatives will baulk at that because they want their loved one to get the drug, not a dummy, and are scared of having to cope with someone in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's.

Still, fingers crossed that enough will be found - if it makes it that far.

Mark: I was wondering...after the plaque has already formed in the brain, can this drug reverse it? See, I doubt that. I bet this drug will only be effective in preventing further build up of the plaque-forming chemical. So, it's probably a great way to prevent the disease, but I bet it can't cure someone who already has a more advanced stage, with lots of plaque build up.
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#8 Hambil

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 05:11 PM

View PostMark, on Aug 28 2007, 02:48 PM, said:

View PostChakoteya, on Aug 27 2007, 02:24 AM, said:

View PostScottEVill, on Aug 27 2007, 02:06 AM, said:

So, not to poo-poo this, 'cause it sounds intriguing, but I wouldn't call it big news.  I mean, they can cure every form of cancer known to man in the laboratory.  They can cure HIV in the laboratory.  None of which has lead to actual cures in people.  (Sorry if that sounds cynical.)

No it's not cynical, it's called not raising hopes unrealistically, like the article is doing with the screaming headline.

Stuff in a petrie dish, a computer simulation, or white mice/rats are not homo sapiens. Rattus bodies work differently to ours and although something not being so toxic that it kills them instantly is a good sign, it is no guarantee of safety and efficaciousness.

Then there is  finding healthy people willing to have things put in their bodies to make sure it's safe. That's a whole different thing from testing drugs on desperately sick people who will clutch at any straw for relief. Then there's the double-blind to remove the placebo effect.... I bet a lot of relatives will baulk at that because they want their loved one to get the drug, not a dummy, and are scared of having to cope with someone in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's.

Still, fingers crossed that enough will be found - if it makes it that far.

Mark: I was wondering...after the plaque has already formed in the brain, can this drug reverse it? See, I doubt that. I bet this drug will only be effective in preventing further build up of the plaque-forming chemical. So, it's probably a great way to prevent the disease, but I bet it can't cure someone who already has a more advanced stage, with lots of plaque build up.
However, the brain has shown an incredible ability to recover on it's own. There are people who have had half their brain removed (literally - one half of their brain dies for some reason) and they go on to live relatively normal lives. It's a nasty long recovery process, but it can happen.

#9 Rhea

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 06:42 PM

The formation of plaque in the brain and the body's production of amyloids are unrelated processes. I suspect that reducing the amyloid formation could delay deterioration in current Alzheimer's patients, but I don't see any way this could affect people who've already had plaque buildup, except that if you can prevent further buildup you should be able to stop deterioration at whatever point you give the treatment.

I think the reason it excited me so much is that a lot of Alzheimer's research has concentrated on a lot more complex possible cures. Creating an artificial human protein is somewhat simpler than some of the stuff I've read about.
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH



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