from the always-carry-spare-batteries dept.
"Age-related neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's, progress over a long period of time before they become clinically apparent. The earliest physiological and molecular events are largely unknown," said Mastroeni. "Findings from our laboratory have uncovered early expression changes in nuclear-encoded, but not mitochondrial-encoded mRNAs occurring in one's early 30s, giving us a glimpse into what we suspect are some of the earliest cellular changes in the progression of Alzheimer's disease."
Results of the new study show that specific classes of genes associated with mitochondrial cell respiration display reduced expression levels in patients with Alzheimer's disease, compared with normal patients.
The study also examines gene expression in subjects whose brains show an intermediate level of illness known as mild cognitive impairment. Here, the opposite effect is observed, with relevant genes exhibiting increased levels of expression. The authors suggest this observation may point to some kind of compensatory mechanism in the brain attempting to stave off the disease in its earlier stages.
Further, the study proposes that restoring a specific set of damaged genes linked to mitochondrial function and located in the nuclear DNA of cells may offer a promising strategy for halting the disease's advance.
Journal: Nuclear but not mitochondrial-encoded OXPHOS genes are altered in aging, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's and Dementia, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.jalz.2016.09.003
Simply put, the mitochondria run out of gas, and Alzheimer's follows.
Pfizer has announced that it will halt efforts to find new treatments for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Meanwhile, Axovant Sciences will halt its studies of intepirdine after it failed to show any improvement for dementia and Alzheimer's patients. The company's stock price has declined around 90% in 3 months:
Pfizer has announced plans to end its research efforts to discover new drugs for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The pharmaceutical giant explained its decision, which will entail roughly 300 layoffs, as a move to better position itself "to bring new therapies to patients who need them."
"As a result of a recent comprehensive review, we have made the decision to end our neuroscience discovery and early development efforts and re-allocate [spending] to those areas where we have strong scientific leadership and that will allow us to provide the greatest impact for patients," Pfizer said in a statement emailed to NPR.
[...] Despite heavily funding research efforts into potential treatments in the past, Pfizer has faced high-profile disappointment in recent years, as Reuters notes: "In 2012, Pfizer and partner Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) called off additional work on the drug bapineuzumab after it failed to help patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's in its second round of clinical trials."
Another potential treatment for neurodegenerative disorders — this one developed by Axovant, another pharmaceutical company — also found itself recently abandoned. The company dropped its experimental drug intepirdine after it failed to improve motor function in patients with a certain form of dementia — just three months after it also failed to show positive effects in Alzheimer's patients.
Looks like GlaxoSmithKline got a good deal when they sold the rights to intepirdine to Axovant Sciences in 2014.
Also at Bloomberg.
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