Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cancer Drug May Improve Memory In Alzheimer's Patients

Date:
September 14, 2009
Source:
Columbia University Medical Center
Summary:
A drug now used to treat cancer may also be able to restore memory deficits in patients with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study.

A drug now used to treat cancer may also be able to restore memory deficits in patients with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study conducted by scientists at Columbia University Medical Center, which appeared in the September issue of The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Related Articles


The loss of short, day-to-day memories is often the first sign of Alzheimer's -- a disease that is expected, by the year 2050, to afflict 120 million people worldwide.

"People often joke that they must have Alzheimer's because they can't remember where they put their keys, but for a person with the disease, this type of short-term memory loss is extremely debilitating," says the study's lead author, Ottavio Arancio, Ph.D., associate professor of pathology and cell biology in the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Arancio says that the cancer drug targets a previously unknown defect in the brains of mice with Alzheimer's.

The reason why the drug improves memory lies in the way the brain records new memories. To create new memories, the neurons in the brain must manufacture new proteins. The first step is to open up and read the DNA, which contains instructions for making the proteins.

To read the DNA, the neuron attaches a chemical reactive group to the spool around which DNA is tightly wound. "These groups, called acetyls, unwind the DNA to make it more accessible," says co-author Yitshak Francis, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia. "It's like unwinding knitting wool from its spool."

This unwrapping step, the researchers found, is impaired in mice with a form of Alzheimer's disease. The mice with Alzheimer's attached about half as many acetyls to DNA as normal mice and had poorer memory.

The researchers then discovered that they could improve memory in the Alzheimer's-afflicted mice with a cancer drug from a family of compounds, called HDAC inhibitors, which increase the DNA's spool acetylation and gene transcription. The drug improved memory performance to the level found in normal mice.

"Because this type of drug has already been approved for some cancer patients," says co-author Mauro F, Ph.D., associate research scientist in Columbia's Taub Institute, "we hope that clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease can start in about three to four years."

"For making memories, you need transcription and protein synthesis at the cellular level. If you don't have that, you don't have memory," said Dr. Francis.

This work was supported in part by Alzheimer Disease Research Zenith Award ZEN-07-58977, National Institutes of Health Grant R01 NS049442 (to O.A.) and by United Kingdom Alzheimer's Research Trust Pilot Grant, The International Sephardic Educational Foundation (ISEF) Scholarship, The Lewis Family Trust Scholarship, The Sidney & Elizabeth Corob Charitable Trust Scholarship, the Charlotte and Yule Bogue Research Fellowships (to Y.I.F).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yitshak I Francis, Mauro F, Haider Ashraf, Hong Zhang, Agnieszka Staniszewski, David S. Latchman, Ottavio Arancio. Dysregulation of Histone Acetylation in the APP/PS1 Mouse Model of Alzheimer%u2019s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 18:1 (September 2009)

Cite This Page:

Columbia University Medical Center. "Cancer Drug May Improve Memory In Alzheimer's Patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090907013816.htm>.
Columbia University Medical Center. (2009, September 14). Cancer Drug May Improve Memory In Alzheimer's Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090907013816.htm
Columbia University Medical Center. "Cancer Drug May Improve Memory In Alzheimer's Patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090907013816.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins