A drug used to treat neuropathic pain may also be effective in ‘reversing’ symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers discovered that a drug called NTRX-07 boosted the removal of abnormal amyloid plaques and improved memory and mental skills in tests on mice with brain problems similar to Alzheimer’s.
The drug was able to target the receptors in the brain which normally decrease inflammation. It also restored SOX2 proteins, which have been shown to help neurons (brain cells) develop.
Professor Mohamed Naguib, of the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, told the American Society of Anaesthesiologists:
‘This drug may reduce inflammation in the brain, which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
‘NTRX-07 uses a different mechanism than many other Alzheimer’s drugs currently available, as it targets the cause of the disease, not just the symptoms.’
The researchers first spotted the memory-restoring properties of the drug while studying its potential to treat a chronic pain condition called neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is a complex, chronic pain state that usually is accompanied by tissue injury. With neuropathic pain, the nerve fibres themselves may be damaged, dysfunctional, or injured. These damaged nerve fibres send incorrect signals to other pain centres.
Pain is very often caused by inflammation, and inflammation is often instrumental in affecting the health of brain cells and leading to dementia so making this link is not surprising.
The research was presented to the American Society of Anesthesiologists.