An experimental drug improved the memory and brain function in older mice
with advanced symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study.
Researchers from the Salk Institute in San Diego found that the drug, known
as J147, increased levels of proteins that form the connections responsible for
learning and memory, and reduced levels of a protein linked to cell death in the
This explains how treating the mice with J147 led to an increase in factors
that are necessary for correct memory function, according to the authors of the
The effectiveness of J147 is the result of a new drug-discovery approach
developed at the Salk Institute, said David Schubert, who heads the Cellular
"Our approach to screening drugs is very different from that currently used
by pharmaceutical companies," Schubert said in a journal news release.
"Alzheimer's disease is a complex disease associated with old age, and our goal
is to make drugs like J147 that reduce the multiple toxicities associated with
the disease, not just one.
"We believe that J147 is the best Alzheimer's disease drug candidate in the
pipeline and will be effective if we can get it into the clinic," he added.
The researchers noted that separate studies found that J147 and another drug
called donepezil (brand name Aricept) improved short-term memory and another
form of memory commonly lost in Alzheimer's patients. They said that only J147
improved spatial memory, which relates to remembering information about places,
such as knowing your way around your neighbourhood.
Success in animal research is no guarantee of similar results in human
The US National Institute on Aging has more about Alzheimer's