Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Natural Alzheimer's-fighting compound created inexpensively in lab

Date:
August 26, 2011
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
Scientists have developed the first practical method to create a compound called huperzine A in the lab. The compound, which occurs naturally in a species of moss found in China, is an enzyme inhibitor that has been used to treat Alzheimer's disease in China since the late 1990s and is sold in the US as a dietary supplement to help maintain memory.

Scientists at Yale University have developed the first practical method to create a compound called huperzine A in the lab. The compound, which occurs naturally in a species of moss found in China, is an enzyme inhibitor that has been used to treat Alzheimer's disease in China since the late 1990s and is sold in the U.S. as a dietary supplement to help maintain memory. Scientists believe it could also potentially combat the effects of chemical warfare agents.

Until now, researchers have only been able to derive small amounts of the compound directly from the Huperzia serrata plant, or had to resort to lengthy and cumbersome methods to synthesize it in the lab.

Now researchers at Yale have developed a practical and cost-effective method to synthesize huperzine A in the lab. The process requires just eight steps and produces a yield of 40 percent. Previously, the best synthetic techniques had required twice as many steps and achieved yields of only two percent.

"Being able to synthesize large amounts of huperzine A in the lab is crucial because the plant itself, which has been used in Chinese folk medicine for centuries, takes decades to grow and is nearing extinction due to overharvesting," said Seth Herzon, the Yale chemist who led the research, which is described in the Aug. 25 issue of the journal Chemical Science.

In some places, huperzine A can cost up to $1,000 per milligram. Herzon and his team produced several grams of the compound in their lab and are capable of creating much more. They believe they will be able to drive the cost down to just 50 cents per milligram (a projected typical dose is about one milligram per day), and have partnered with an industrial firm to help produce it on larger scales.

The firm plans to comprehensively evaluate the therapeutic potential of huperzine A by conducting clinical trials for several different neurological disorders in the U.S. In addition, the Herzon lab and the firm are working with the U.S. Army, which is interested in huperzine A's potential in blocking the effects of chemical warfare agents, he said. The compound has been shown to protect primates against chemical warfare agents, without side effects.

Other Alzheimer's treatments based on enzyme inhibitors are currently prescribed in the U.S., but huperzine A binds better, is more easily absorbed by the body and last longer in the body than other treatments, Herzon said.

"We believe huperzine A has the potential to treat a range of neurologic disorders more effectively than the current options available," Herzon said. "And we now have a route to huperzine A that rivals nature's pathway."

Other authors of the paper include Maung Kyaw Moe Tun and Daniel-Joachim Wόstmann, both of Yale.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Maung Kyaw Moe Tun, Daniel-Joachim Wόstmann, Seth B. Herzon. A robust and scalable synthesis of the potent neuroprotective agent (−)-huperzine A. Chemical Science, 2011; DOI: 10.1039/C1SC00455G

Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Natural Alzheimer's-fighting compound created inexpensively in lab." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110825091920.htm>.
Yale University. (2011, August 26). Natural Alzheimer's-fighting compound created inexpensively in lab. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110825091920.htm
Yale University. "Natural Alzheimer's-fighting compound created inexpensively in lab." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110825091920.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Patient Told Hospital He Was from Liberia

Ebola Patient Told Hospital He Was from Liberia

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — The first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S. initially went to a Dallas emergency room last week but was sent home, despite telling a nurse that he had been in disease-ravaged West Africa, the hospital acknowledged Wednesday. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
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