Alzheimer’s disease is one of the primary causes of dementia in people, and while the disease is considered irreversible, a cure may have been found by Bengaluru-based scientists. The breakthrough is a small molecule that has shown the ability to disrupt the mechanism through which neurons become dysfunctional in Alzheimer’s disease.
Developed by scientists from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) in Jakkur, Bengaluru and an Indian-origin scientist at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, the molecule, called TGR63, has been shown in animal studies to not only halt the progress of the disease but even reverse it.
Alzheimer's in a person progresses through the abnormal buildup of naturally forming proteins which clump together to form plaques that collect between neurons and disrupt cell function.
Researchers said that this is caused by the production and deposition of the amyloid peptide (Aβ) that accumulates in the central nervous system. “The aggregation of this proteins have the end effect of disrupting the neural network of the brain, resulting in memory loss and the destruction of thinking skills,” said Professor T Govindaraju from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR).
"The multifactorial nature of Alzheimer’s disease is attributed to multifaceted amyloid toxicity, which has kept researchers from developing effective treatment," an official release said, adding that small molecule found by the team can reduce the toxicity of Amyloid Beta (Aβ) and in doing so, can rescue neuronal cells.
The molecule was also found to reduce amyloid burden in the cortex and hippocampus, or a complex part embedded deep into the temporal lobe, thereby reversing cognitive decline. The research has been published recently in the journal Advanced Therapeutics.
“Our animal studies show that in mice with advanced stages of the disease can show a marked improvement in memory and thinking skills over a matter of days. In mice with early stages of the disease, recovery happened in a matter of hours,” Professor Govindaraju, who hails from Tumakuru, told DH.
Video footage of tests showed a mouse with Alzheimer's treated with TRG63 and successfully navigating a Morris Water Maze from memory “However, we will only know the full scale of efficacy when human trials are conducted,” Professor Govindaraju added. Currently available treatments provide only temporary relief, and there are no approved drugs that directly act on the disease mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease.