Cancer Drug Restores Memory in Alzheimer’s Mice


new cancer drug restores memory

Star–like glial cells in red surround alpha beta plaques in the cortex of a mouse with a model of Alzheimer’s Disease. Image Credit: Yale University

A new study finds that a new cancer drug restores memory in mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of progressive dementia affecting more than 10% of Americans over the age of 65. It’s predicted that the disease will affect more than 3 million people aged 85 and older in the coming decades. Even more disappointing is the fact that so many trials for new drugs to treat the disease fail. Between 2002 and 2013 413 drug trials were conducted, of those a whopping 99.6% of trials failed, meaning they didn’t find a drug effective in treating the disease. Now a newly developed cancer drug, AZD05030, shows promise in a new study.

Cancer Drug Restores Memory in Alzheimer’s Mice

Sometimes new uses are found for drugs that are different than what was originally intended. AZD05030 was initially developed to treat solid tumors but drug trials testing this application proved disappointing. In this new study researchers show that there might be another use for the drug, treating Alzheimer’s disease.

 “With this treatment, cells under bombardment by beta amyloid plaques show restored synaptic connections and reduced inflammation, and the animal’s memory, which was lost during the course of the disease, comes back,” said Stephen M. Strittmatter – Stephen M. Strittmatter senior author of the study.

The new drug blocks the activation of an enzyme, FYN, an important component in the chain of events leading to Alzheimer’s disease. In the study wild type mice and an Alzheimer’s model of mice were subjected to memory tests before and after treatment with AZD05030. In addition researchers looked at changes in the brains of the mice including: protein deposits, synaptic markers and targets of the FYN enzyme.

Researchers found that after 4 weeks of treatment with the cancer drug mice with the Alzheimer disease model recovered memory deficits seen prior to starting treatment and that mice treated also had fewer deposits of misfolded proteins in their brains. Another encouraging find is an absence of any dangerous toxic effects resulting from the treatment.

Many drugs tested on mice turn out to be too toxic, or don’t work as well in people, but let’s hope this drug shows similar positive result in the upcoming human clinical trials .


Cancer Drug Restores Memory in Alzheimer's Mice