Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Epilepsy drug shows potential for Alzheimer’s treatment

A drug commonly used to treat epilepsy could help clear the plaques in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to researchers at the University of Leeds. The plaques are known to lead to the progressive death of nerve cells in the brain linked to many forms of dementia.

Sodium valproate - which is marketed as the anti-seizure drug Epilim - has been shown by scientists at the University of Leeds to reactivate the body’s own defences against a small protein called amyloid beta peptide, which is the main component of the brain plaques characteristic in Alzheimer’s. Their work was funded by the Medical Research Council.

“The fact that we’ve been able to show that a well-established, safe and relatively inexpensive drug could help treat Alzheimer’s is an extremely exciting development,” says lead researcher Professor Tony Turner from the University’s Faculty of Biological Sciences. “We hope colleagues will be able to progress this research with clinical trials in the near future.”

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and has no cure. In the UK today there a half a million people living with Alzheimer’s – and this is likely to double within a generation unless new treatments are found.

Sodium valproate has been used for many years to suppress epileptic seizures and the many sufferers of epilepsy have been taking the drug for decades with few side effects.

The development of Alzheimer’s is widely believed to be caused by the gradual accumulation in the brain of amyloid-beta peptide which is toxic to nerve cells. This is thought to be caused by a key enzyme called neprilysin or NEP gradually switching off in later life. One of NEP’s roles is to clear the toxic peptide from the brain, and plaques begin to form as it gradually switches off, leading to the death of the brain’s nerve cells.

The research team examined changes in chromatin – the ‘packaging’ that genes are contained within - and surmised that these changes might be involved in switching off NEP. The team found clear differences (acetylation) in key proteins within the chromatin when they compared normal nerve cells against those that failed to produce NEP.

“From there it was relatively simple to stimulate the expression of NEP with sodium valproate, which was seen to prevent the acetylation,” says Professor Turner. “We were elated when we saw the results.”

Professor Tony Turner, together with former colleague Dr John Kenny, first discovered NEP in the brain. His current research team comprises Dr Nikolai Belyaev, Dr Natalia Nalivaeva and Natalia Makova.

Jo Kelly | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>