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Using Cancer Drugs to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

By , 12:41 am on

Ongoing research concerning the conditions that cause Alzheimer’s led a group of scientists from the Georgetown University Medical Center’s Translational Neurotherapeutics Program to an amazing discovery. Based on the chemical compounds that cause the neuron damage found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, researchers learned that the medications formerly approved by the FDA for the treatment of renal cancer prove helpful in combating the disease. Here are what families and Chicago home care providers need to know about the findings.

Alzheimer’s Building Blocks

Tau proteins in the brain assume the responsibility of eliminating harmful amyloid beta proteins. However, in Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders, tau proteins undergo a transformation process. They convert into a different type of protein that loses the ability to effectively protect neurons. Amyloid proteins are naturally sticky in nature, which enables the molecules to adhere one to another and form clumps. These clumps distort neurons out of alignment, which interferes with the communication between the cells. The accumulation of amyloids also eventually causes cellular destruction.

Increasingly Complex

Scientists learned that enzymes known as tyrosine kinases are the main reason for the abnormal cycle, which causes protein buildup, neurodegeneration and inflammation in the brain. Tyrosine kinase acts as an on/off switch that regulates or interferes with cellular function. The enzyme is also present in malignant cells associated with cancer. The chemotherapy drugs nilotinib and pazopanib are classified as tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

The Georgetown group was determined to learn if the medications might have an effect on the neurodegenerative processes that lead to Alzheimer’s. They administered the medications to laboratory mice exhibiting Alzheimer’s symptoms. After one month, testing the mice revealed that their brains had less abnormal tau proteins, which enabled normal tau to resume the neuroprotective cleaning duties. The group has yet to begin chemotherapy trials on human subjects.

The researchers plan on conducting further studies in order to determine the location of specific receptor sites affected by the medications. In this way, they will better understand how tyrosine kinase forms and releases into the brain.

Living with Alzheimer’s comes with a host of challenges that not every family is prepared to handle alone. Contact Home Care Assistance at (847) 906-3991 today to learn about our comprehensive Chicago Alzheimer’s home care and how it can help your loved one. Our compassionate caregivers help clients with cognitive disorders by stimulating mental function, delaying the onset of dementia, and boosting self-esteem. Schedule a no-obligation consultation today when you call.

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