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New drug may protect against memory loss in Alzheimer

Senior man taking medicine

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

Preclinical research found that the drug—called BPN14770—deters the effects of amyloid beta, a hallmark protein of Alzheimer’s that is toxic to nerve cells.

Recent studies find Alzheimer’s may develop without dementia in nearly 25% of healthy 80-year-old patients, suggesting the body may turn to compensatory mechanisms to maintain the nervous system.

BPN14770, under development by Tetra Therapeutics, could help activate these mechanisms that support nerve health and prevent dementia, even with the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Its benefits could also translate to Fragile X syndrome, developmental disabilities and schizophrenia, researchers say.

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

“Our new research suggests that BPN14770 may be capable of activating multiple biological mechanisms that protect the brain from memory deficits, neuronal damage and biochemical impairments.”

The study, published on Sept. 5 in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, was also led by James M. O’Donnell, Ph.D., dean and professor of the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Mark E. Gurney, Ph.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Tetra Therapeutics, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, collaborated on the research.

 

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