Breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer's - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer's

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Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

TAMPA, FL (FOX NEWS) - Florida researchers discover the latest development in fight against Alzheimer's. They believe a drug already approved by the Food and Drug Administration may help those suffering with the condition.

It began at a working research lab at the University of South Florida's Byrd Alzheimer's Institute. "This is very exciting. We seldom see such a positive result in the mice," said Dr. Huntington Potter.

He's referring to the amyloid plaques, a sticky protein thought to cause memory loss, found in the brain.

Researcher Tim Boyd injected the left side of the mouse's brain with a drug "In seven days, we had removed half the plaques out of this side of the brain verses this side."

Then, they treated more Alzheimer's mice. After 20 days, more plaque disappeared. Moreover, when tested in a maze, they found their memories were equal to those of normal mice. "Almost never is there a magic bullet for a complex human disease like Alzheimer's disease. "This is a very optimistically hopeful situation."

The drug used in the study, Leukine, is already FDA approved. Leukine is an immune system stimulator that seems to have very few side effects and has been used for some 20 years for cancer patients," explained Dr. Potter.

Leukine is similar to a protein found in patients with Rheumatoid arthritis. It boosts the cells in our bodies that fight infections. "These are sort of garbage collector cells that go around looking for things that don't belong there, and what we think, is happening, they're entering the brain and getting rid of the amyloid deposits of Alzheimer's disease."

Dr. Potter hopes to begin clinical trials in the next two months. If successful, it may lead to the development of even better drugs.

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