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Alzheimer hope for cancer drug

25th November 2005

A study into a cancer drug may bring hope to loved ones of Alzheimer sufferers.

Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal showed that bryostatin could improve long term memory within snails. It found that the compound increased protein synthesis in the animals, which after absorbing the drug would remember things they were trained to do for weeks instead of minutes.

Earlier experiments in mice found that bryostatin had improved the survival rate of mice with Alzheimer's by 400 per cent and had improved neuroprotection, preventing a build-up of proteins.

Daniel Alkon of Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute told Reed Life Science News: "We believe that this drug might not only help the dementias of Alzheimer's disease, also vascular dementia, Lewy Bodies, Parkinson's dementia, and so on. If you can enhance cognition, it has a potentially general indication."

He said that previous Alzheimer's drugs had been approved to enhance the cognitive abilities of patients, nor provide neuroprotection.

Mr Alkon added that extensive safety data was already available as the cancer drug has been approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration.