An AstraZeneca drug with disappointing results against solid tumors has shown promise in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a team at Yale University in the U.S.
The drug, AZD0530, attacks one of the key steps in the development of Alzheimer’s–blocking the activation of the enzyme FYN, which interrupts the synaptic connections between brain cells needed to retain memories.
The Yale team is using money from the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) as part of a program to find uses for failed drugs.
Working with mouse models of the disease, scientists say that the drug was able to restore memory in the rodents.
“With this treatment, cells under bombardment by beta amyloid plaques show restored synaptic connections and reduced inflammation, and the animal’s memory, which was lost during the course of the disease, comes back,” said Stephen Strittmatter, the Vincent Coates Professor of Neurology and senior author of the study.
The Yale team goes on to note that a human study of the drug is now underway to put the animal results to the test. According to their website, Yale is conducting a Phase IIa study that will run for 12 months.