Sunday, November 6, 2016

New Drug Trail Provides Hope For Alzheimer's Patients

Just as we roll into November, recently named "National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month", it was announced that Merck Research Laboratories reported a summary of results of early human and animal testing of a drug called verubecestat. This drug is a brain plaque inhibitor that works by inhibiting the enzyme BACE1 which is known to produce amyloid beta, a protein that clumps together forming plaques that are the hallmark of Alzheimer's Disease. The functionality of BACE1 and it's implications for treating Alzheimer's has been known since 1999, but researchers have had issues finding molecules with the right characteristics and had concerns about potential side effects including further neurodegeneration. The new drug developed by Merck seems to overcome these concerns and has shown to significantly reduce levels of amyloid and sAPP beta in blood, both of which are made with the help of BACE1. Researchers at Merck performed small trials on healthy adults and adults with mild to moderate Alzheimer's and in both trials reduced levels of amyloid and sAPP beta were observed after just two and one week of usage, respectively, with no adverse affects observed. These small trials from Merck helped to propel the drug into full trials, making verubecestat the first BACE1 inhibitor to reach phase 3 trials. The drug still has more trials to go through to test the full safety and effectiveness, but it is thought to be promising. 

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