New Medical Research Targets Alzheimer's Disease

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A medical research study has discovered a possible new drug target for Alzheimer’s disease.

CD40 or CD40L appear to be good molecular targets for the disease. The development of safe biological or low molecular weight compounds directed at these molecules would be very interesting as potential new therapies.

A medical research study has revealed new information regarding a possible new therapeutic target for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer patients remain poorly treated and are growing in number. Currently, cholinesterase inhibitors and the more recent NMDA-receptor antagonists provide only moderate and temporary symptomatic benefit. By the end of the decade, however, novel drugs with the ability to slow the rate of disease progression are expected to be launched.

One new target for the treatment of Alzheimer's is CD40L (CD154). This T-cell molecule binds to CD40 on antigen presenting cells and plays a key role in T-cell coactivation and hence the drug development sector has been developing blockers of CD40L:CDL as treatments of autoimmune disorders. CD40L:CD40 interaction is thought to regulate microglia in the brain of patients with the disease thus modifying Abeta phagocytosis and the production of inflammatory mediators.

Although studies have shown that blocking CD40L reduces Abeta deposition and improves cognition in models of Alzheimer's, the effect of CD40 blockade has not been directly investigated. This is important with respect to target selection as CD40L can also bind GPII/III on the surface of platelets.

A paper from the Roskamp Institute in Sarasota, Florida, reports that as with CD40L, CD40 deletion also prevents the development of Alzheimer's disease-like pathology. Thus blocking either CD40 or its ligand may be of therapeutic interest and indeed the blockade of the former may be preferable as cardiovascular adverse effects may be reduced (Source: Neuroinflammation. 2006 Feb 24;3:3.)

Dr. Michael Mullan, Director of the Roskamp Institute, says, "CD40 or CD40L appear to be good molecular targets for the disease. The development of safe biological or low molecular weight compounds directed at these molecules would be very interesting as potential new therapies." For more information about medical research studies regarding Alzheimer's Disease, please contact:

The Roskamp Institute @ 941-752-2949

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Peter Parsonson
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