Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rapamycin may delay ageing and help to prevent Alzheimer's disease

Recently there have been some investigations into the effects of Rapamycin, a drug that is already FDA approved to help prevent the rejection of organ transplants, on longevity and on Alzheimer's disease-like symptoms.  Rapamycin (a.k.a. Sirolimus) was originally developed as an antifungal after it was discovered in a soil bacteria that grows on Easter Island. (Easter island is also known as Rapa Nui, hence the name Rapamycin).  However, recent studies in mice have shown that long term treatment with the drug can extend the average lifespan.  Now there are two new studies showing that Rapamycin may also prevent or even help to treat symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.  The studies show that the drug is effective on both behavioral and physiological markers for Alzheimer's disease... that is, it prevented age related decline in memory and learning ability, and it decreased the accumulation of aberrant amyloid beta proteins.  Clearly, more research will need to be done, but, if these types of findings can be replicated in further preclinical and then clinical trials, it could mean a potential treatment for Alzheimer's, and perhaps other age related diseases.
Titles (links) to the articles are below...

Molecular interplay between mTOR, A{beta} and tau: Effects on cognitive impairments.

Inhibition of mTOR by Rapamycin Abolishes Cognitive Deficits and Reduces Amyloid-β Levels in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease

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