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Could a cancer drug improve Alzheimer's symptoms?

Could a cancer drug improve Alzheimer's symptoms?
10th February 2012

A drug used to treat cancer could also improve the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, a recent study suggests.

Using mice, researchers in Ohio found that bexarotene can increase levels of the protein ApoE, which speeds up the clearance of amyloid-beta - a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

ApoE is a cholesterol transport protein and researchers expect that understanding how it regulates amyloid-beta could help to combat Alzheimer's.

Bexarotene has been found to improve memory and behaviour in mice with the condition.

A spokesperson from the Alzheimer's Society commented: "This exciting study could be the beginning of a journey towards a potential new way to treat Alzheimer's disease.

"However, this is very early days. People with Alzheimer's should not rush to get this drug."

The Alzheimer's Society is calling for more research to establish if the benefits found in mouse models are translatable to humans, but hope that the discovery will lead to more innovative treatments for Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.

Find out more about Alzheimer's disease care at Barchester homes.