New Drug for Alzheimer's Disease
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New Drug for Alzheimer’s Disease may protect against memory loss

A new drug discovered through a research collaboration between the University at Buffalo and Tetra Therapeutics may protect against memory loss, nerve damage, including other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

The Drug is called as BPN14770. Preclinical research found that the New Drug for Alzheimer’s deters the effects of amyloid-beta, a specific protein of Alzheimer’s that is toxic to nerve cells.

Recent research findings concluded that Alzheimer’s may develop without dementia in nearly 25% of healthy 80-year-old patients. This suggests that the body may turn to compensatory mechanisms to maintain the nervous system.

The New Drug is currently under development by Tetra Therapeutics. BPN14770 could help activate these mechanisms that support nerve health and prevent dementia, even as the Alzheimer’ progresses. The new drug may also benefit in other diseases, including Fragile X syndrome, developmental disabilities, and schizophrenia. 

Ying Xu, MD, Ph.D., co-lead investigator of the research said that these observations imply that the brain can tolerate Alzheimer’s pathology to some extent due to compensatory mechanisms operating at the cellular and synaptic levels. Ying Xu is a Research associate professor in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

She highlighted that the New Drug for Alzheimer’s suggests that BPN14770 may be capable of activating multiple biological mechanisms that protect the brain from various Alzheimer’s symptoms such as memory deficits, neuronal damage, and biochemical impairments.

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The study was published on 5th September 2019 in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. The study was led by James M. O’Donnell, Ph.D., dean, and professor of the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

New Drug for Alzheimer’s Disease- Research Methodology

The research was conducted in mice. The study concluded that BPN14770 inhibits the activity of phosphodiesterase‐4D (PDE4D). It is an enzyme that plays a crucial role in memory formation, learning, neuroinflammation, and traumatic brain injury.

PDE4D lowers cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). It is a messenger molecule that signals physiological changes such as cell division, differentiation, migration, and death in the body — consequently leading to physical alterations in the brain.

The cAMP has numerous beneficial functions. It includes features such as improved memory among others. By inhibiting PDE4D, BPN14770 increases cAMP signaling in the brain. This ultimately protects against the toxic effects of amyloid-beta.

Mark E. Gurney, Ph.D., chairman, and chief executive officer of Tetra Therapeutics said that the researchers had thoroughly studied various aspects of PDE4D functioning and its effect on the brain. Mark E. Gurney noted that he is excited by the new findings from his colleagues.

James M. O’Donnell added that developing effective drugs for memory deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease has been challenging for his team. BPN14770- New Drug for Alzheimer’s works by a novel mechanism to increase cyclic AMP signaling in the brain, which has been shown to improve memory.

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Tetra Therapeutics is conducting Phase 2 clinical trials of BPN14770 in patients with early Alzheimer’s and adults with Fragile X syndrome. It is a genetic disorder that causes intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Animal studies found that BPN14770 has the potential to promote the maturation of connections between neurons. This property is impaired in patients with Fragile X syndrome. It also protects these connections, which are lost in patients with Alzheimer’s.

The research team expects positive clinical trials results of -New Drug for Alzheimer’s – by the end of 2020.

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Rahul Mishra is a Science enthusiast and eager to learn something new each day. He has a degree in Microbiology and has joined forces with Biotecnika in 2019 due to his passion for writing and science.