Health & Wellbeing

Experimental Alzheimer's drug shows unexpected anti-aging effects

Scientists have used a drug known as J147 to reverse Alzheimer's-like deterioration in mice
Scientists have used a drug known as J147 to reverse Alzheimer's-like deterioration in mice
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Scientists have used a drug known as J147 to reverse Alzheimer's-like deterioration in mice
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Scientists have used a drug known as J147 to reverse Alzheimer's-like deterioration in mice

Researchers from the Salk Institute forBiological Studies in California have tested an experimental drug onrapidly-aging mice, with the treatment designed to combat aspects ofaging closely associated with Alzheimer's. The results were verypositive, with treated mice exhibiting better memory, cognition andmore.

Alzheimer's is a widespread andprogressive disease that chiefly affects the elderly. There arecurrently more than five million people with the condition in theUnited States alone.

The Salk research is looking to tacklethe disease from a new angle. It expands upon a previous studyconducted back in 2013, working with a potent memory-enhancing andneurotrophic drug called J147. Unlike most medicines designed tocombat the disease, J147 was synthesized after looking atage-associated brain toxicities, and looks to tackle the major riskfactor for the disease – old age itself.

The older research looked at the effectof J147 on mice with an inherited form of Alzheimer's, finding thatit was able to prevent and even reverse memory loss in subjects.While that was promising, inherited Alzheimer's is far less commonthan cases of the disease triggered by old age.

The new study looked to discoverwhether the experimental drug is as effective at fighting Alzheimer'scaused by old age, which is responsible for 99 percent of cases. Oncethe results were in, things were looking very positive, with theresearchers surprised by how effective it had proved.

"We did not predict we'd see thissort of anti-aging effect," says lead author Antonio Currais. "ButJ147 made old mice look like they were young, based upon a number ofphysiological parameters."

The team introduced J147 to a breed ofrapidly-aging laboratory mice, measuring its effect on genes in thebrain, as well as more than 500 small molecules involved in theanimals' metabolism. Three groups were tested, one young and two old, of which one was treated with J147 for some seven months and theother not.

The results were very positive, withthe treated elderly mice performing better in memory tests andexhibiting better motor functions. They also showed less pathologicalsigns of Alzheimer's in their brains, and generally shared moreaspects of their gene expression and metabolism with the younger setof mice. Overall, J147 was found to have protective effects on thecentral nervous system, with the ability to tackle aspects of agingclosely associated with Alzheimer's.

While further study will be necessarybefore any sweeping statements can be made regarding the potentialimpact that the new treatment might have on sufferers of the disease,it's clear that J147's focus on treating the risk factor of thedisease is having a big impact on its success, in mice at least. Weshouldn't have to wait too long to find out if it's effective on people, with the team hoping to start human trials in 2016.

The researchers published the findingsof their study in the journal Aging.

Source: Salk Institute for Biological Studies

8 comments
Bob Vious
If there are no side effects, someone just became very, very, very, very rich. That is, if the powers that be don't snuff it out to prevent overcrowding. In which case, the powers that be will just allow their ilk to use it.
davgrn
if this works in people the same way, my guess is that it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and only the wealthy will be able to afford it.
ezeflyer
Would it reverse other diseases of old age?
Jyrate
Reading stories such as this I'm always reminded of John Wyndham's book, The Trouble with Lichen... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trouble_with_Lichen The plot concerns a young woman biochemist who discovers that a chemical extracted from an unusual strain of lichen (hence the title) can be used to retard the ageing process, enabling people to live to around 200–300 years. Wyndham speculates how society would deal with this prospect.
Don Duncan
When I hear about something like this I wonder if it could be used in healthy young people to enhance brain functioning. Or anyone, any age, to enhance brain function? Testing mice won't tell us. We need human trials.
Pacific Oyster
Gee, why do so many people delight in negative comments?
AGO
Hilarious! .. A ketogenic diet does the same thing. It reverses the effects of Alzheimer's and extends life. Experiments with tiny worms found that removing sugar from the diet doubled the life span of these tiny worms. The greatest lifespan extension of any organism! Read "grain brain" by Dr David Perlmutter or "Good Calories Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes for this old science. I reversed my mothers Alzheimer's with this diet. Low carb high fat. Best thing, you don't need to buy any dangerous and overpriced drugs... Just change your diet. Less glucose= more IDE(insulin degrading enzyme to dissolve amyloid plaques) and les AGE's(advanced glycation end products) that bond to protein and prematurely age you......also, mitochondria create less ROS (reactive oxygen species) when burning ketones instead of glucose.... Simple.....
chrisnfolsom
Such tease material - I hope it has some hope of reality. Jokes aside, getting older sucks, and Alzheimer's is no joke.