Alzheimer’s disease is a slowly progressing and difficult condition for millions of Americans across the country. It is the most common cause of progressive dementia and an estimated 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s. The disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, with the Alzheimer’s association estimating that 700,000 people will die with the disease over the course of 2015. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration has approved five medications to treat the disease. While these medications are vital for patients with Alzheimer’s, none of them treat the disease—they simply mask the symptoms. However, a new study conducted by researchers found a chemical called IRL-1620 that successfully treated rats for similar symptoms as Alzheimer’s.
The new drug helped improve the rat’s memory, prevented oxidative stress, and enhanced neurovascular modeling in rats that demonstrated impaired learning abilities and increased oxidative stress caused by the disease. One of the study’s authors, Seema Briyal, said, “We used the novel approach of stimulating the endothelin B receptors by intravenous injection of IRL-1620 to prevent and repair the damage to the brain caused by Alzheimer’s disease.” Researchers have already discovered how important Endothelin B (ETB) receptors are for brain development, and stimulating these receptors has provided protection to the nervous system.
For this new study, scientists injected rats that had Alzheimer’s disease with IRL-1620, a drug that binds ETB receptors and watched its effects on spatial memory, oxidative stress and the expression of certain proteins in the brain. Researchers found that the drug improved memory deficit in the rats by 50 to 60 percent, and reduced oxidative stress by as much as 50 percent.
Briyal noted that researchers, “also found that treatment with IRL-1620 enhanced certain recovery processes within the Alzheimer’s disease-damaged brain, resulting in more new blood vessels and neuronal cells. This indicates reparative processes occurring in the damaged brain.”
This study is the first to demonstrate how the injection of IRL-1620 can reverse the neurological effects of Alzheimer’s disease in an animal model. Further study will be needed to see if these results translate to humans with the debilitating condition. In the meantime, if someone in your family is suffering from Alzheimer’s, contact your doctor at the Medical Alliance of Southern New Jersey today to discuss ways to manage symptoms and ensure quality of life.