Japanese scientists find new drug combo that may be key to treating Alzheimer’s
Japan Times -- Nov 23
A team of Japanese researchers has found a new drug combination that reduces amyloid beta protein, believed to play a key role in causing Alzheimer’s disease, by using stem cells derived from patients, Kyoto University announced Tuesday.

The scientists believe their findings, published in the online edition of the Cell Reports journal the same day, is a promising step to eventually find a drug to treat Alzheimer's --- a progressive disease characterized by memory loss that affects tens of millions of people worldwide. There is so far no known cure or established treatment for Alzheimer's.

For its experiment, the team created so-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) from individuals, including patients with Alzheimer's, and then cultivated them in vitro to replicate diseased brain tissue.

The researchers created cortical neurons derived from iPS cells from five patients with familial Alzheimer's; four patients with sporadic Alzheimer's, which means there is no family history of the disease; and four healthy individuals.

They then tested 1,258 drugs on the tissue, and identified that the most effective combination to reduce the amyloid beta content was a drug cocktail combining three existing drugs --- bromocriptine, which is used to treat Parkinson's disease; cromolyn, used for asthma; and topiramate, which is used for epilepsy treatment.

The team said in its report that the "cocktail showed a significant and potent" effect and "promises to be useful" for the development of drugs to treat Alzheimer's.

Haruhisa Inoue, a professor with the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University who was part of the team, expressed hope that the combination would prove more effective than existing options.

News source: Japan Times
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