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Anti-Cancer Drug Reverses Alzheimer's Disease In Mice: Bexarotene May Be The Answer To Memory Loss

By Nyasia Draper | May 25, 2013 10:35 AM EDT

Hormone Therapy May Help Alzheimer's in Women
A recent study conducted on the subject of Alzheimer states that hormone therapy may help prevent Alzheimer's in women. (Photo : Reuters)

The drug bexarotene reportedly improved gene mutation associated with Alzheimer's disease in mice according to Medical News Today. The new discovery was published by Science. The anti-cancer drug was used in a mouse model by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Medical News Today defines bexarotene as a "compound chemically associated with vitamin A that triggers Retinoic X Receptors found all over the body. Once activated, the receptors bind to DNA and control the expression of genes that guide many different biological functions."

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"We believe these findings make a solid case for continued exploration of bexarotene as a therapeutic treatment for Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Rada Koldamova, a senior author and associate professor in Pit Public Health's Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, according to Medical News Today. 

Koldamova and her team was inspired to explore the benefits of bexarotene after a study done by the Case Western Reserve University was published claiming the drug "elevates memory and rapidly cleared amyloid plaques from the brains of Alzheimer's model mice." Amyloid plaques are made up of toxic protein fragments responsible for the damaging of neurons needed to maintain memories. Research done by the Western Reserve University showed no signs of bexarotene to clear amyloid plaques.

Although this is true, the updated research discovered that the amyloid plaques shouldn't be an immediate concern and that bexarotene within mice showed signs of  reversing their memory loss.

"We did find significant decreases in soluble oligomers. It is possible that the oligomers are more dangerous than the plaques in people with Alzheimer's disease,"Koldamova said. "It is also possible that the improvement of cognitive skills in mice treated with bexarotene is unrelated to amyloid beta and the drug works through a completely different, unknown mechanism."

The mice did not show any other discoveries or side effects.

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