A promising series of early-stage studies have shown that two drugs, which have been authorized decades earlier might be able to boost cognitive function and neutralize the brain damage that has been caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists have been focusing on animal models amidst many inferences that if an unexpected blend of drugs is able to eliminate a key trait of Alzheimer’s disease then it means that effective therapy has been hidden for decades. Early studies have shown that two well-known drugs gemfibrosil and retinoic acid might be able to eradicate a key trait of Alzheimer’s disease when used in combination. Gemfibrosil is an old cholesterol-lowering drug that is sold by the brand name Lopid. While many people still use it, it is not prescribed more often to patients. The authors of the new study have found that these days, health care providers prefer to prescribe statins to reduce the level of cholesterol. On the other hand, retinoic acid is used as a vitamin A derivative. Retinoic acid has been in use for many years and it is used in multiple formulations to treat a number of health issues such as psoriasis, acne, and cancer as well. Health experts who have been part of the study have said that two drugs are being tested for their strong effect on the brain and efficacy that might be able to fight against Alzheimer’s disease that is known as an incurable brain disease. The study has been conducted by experts from Rush University Medical Center Chicago. The findings of the new study have been released in Science Translational Medicine.
The authors of the study have said that the two drugs have the capacity to zero in on the astrocytes of the brain. They have said that astrocytes are cells that have been named like this because they look like stars. Ironically, astrocytes are intricately involved in a critical process that can gradually or insidiously damage the brain. Health experts who have been involved in the study have noted that astrocytes might be playing a crucial role in the buildup of amyloid-beta. They have said that the accumulation of amyloid-beta is a kind of thick plaque that harms neurons in the brain. The authors of the new report have clearly stated that it shows that astrocytes or these start-like cells help in the gush of toxic events that strip people of their sense of self, memories, and eventually take their lives. The team of scientists from Rush University Medical Center has claimed that gemfibrosil and retinoic acid compel astrocytes to turn around their destructive effects when used in combination. Experts have said that the combination of these drugs can reduce the amount of amyloid-beta in the brain. The blend of these drugs helps enhance cognitive ability as well in patients, said the experts. The findings of the new study have shown that in the future, these medicines can be repurposed to wheedle astrocytes into an advantageous role. These drugs might serve as amyloid-beta clearing instruments that will eradicate the buildup of plaque and prevent Alzheimer’s disease from damaging the brain. The first author of the study, Dr. Sushma Raha has said that from a treatment perspective, the findings show that a low dose of gemfibrosil and retinoic acid can be repurposed as a therapy to reduce the burden of plaque and enhance cognitive function. She has said that astrocytes are a form of glial cell that are drawn in the accumulation of amyloid-beta in Alzheimer’s disease.
The authors of the study have said that with the help orally delivered blend of these drugs that are authorized for other signs, astrocytes can be tempted to eliminate amyloid-beta fibrils. Astrocytes have been tested in cell cultures and Alzheimer’s mouse models and have been stimulated by retinoic acid to phagocytose. Phagocytose eliminates amyloid-beta by activating low-density lipoprotein cholesterol receptors. Gemfibrosil has been able to prompt astrocytes to consequently degrade amyloid-beta in lysosomes, said the experts. An author of the new study, Dr. Kalipada Pahan has shown in a previous study that a blend of gemfibrosil and retinoic acid can accelerate the formation of lysosomes in the brain cells of mice. Experts have said that lysosomes are the organisms that carry digestive enzymes. These organisms take part in the breakdown of excess cell parts. Scientists have also found that gemfibrosil and retinoic acid have made astrocytes grasp in more amyloid-beta from the outer surface of the cell. The tests have shown that the blend of drugs has been able to stimulate a receptor known as PPAR alpha that promotes astrocytes to wipe out amyloid beta that leads to plaques in the brain. PPAR alpha can be called Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor-alpha as well. It is a transcriptional aspect that controls the expression of genes that are involved in fatty acid oxidation. The PPAR alpha is a major manager of energy homeostasis as well. PPAR alpha is quite vital in the removal of amyloid beta. Experts have said that though they are testing these drugs in the pursuit of a new treatment, it is uncertain when these tests are going to turn into full-blown human clinical trials. For decades, the studies on repurposing drugs to treat Alzheimer’s have been witnessing multiple setbacks. Recently, experts have been raising concerns over the sanction of a drug known as Aduhelm to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The drug costs around $56000 per year, said the experts. Experts have been concerned about the studies that have led to fast-track approval of the drug by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that Aduhelm is one of the more than half a dozen of drugs that are given sanction in more than two decades to treat a disease like Alzheimer’s. Experts from the WHO has said that mental disease is slowly turning into a major health crisis across the globe. As per the data, around 55 million people across the world are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. As per an evaluation by the experts, the number of people dealing with Alzheimer’s can shoot up to 152 million in the world by 2050.