An anti inflammatory drug, containing mefenamic acid, reversed memory troubles in mice. The experiment made scientists wonder if memory issues associated with for Alzheimer’s disease could be cured in humans.
The researchers from the University of Manchester conducted an investigation that involved the use of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
Previous studies showed that brain inflammation could intensify the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, the scientists focused on how to decrease the level of inflammation in the brain.
The mefenamic acid is usually prescribed to control pain, and it’s especially used in reducing pain and blood loss associated with menstruation.
The drug targets NLRP33 inflammasome, an inflammatory path that leads to brain cell damage.
“Until now, no drug has been available to target this pathway, so we are very excited by this result. However, much more work needs to be done until we can say with certainty that it will tackle the disease in humans as mouse models don’t always faithfully replicate the human disease,” said Dr. David Brough, a researcher at the University of Manchester and co-author of the study.
The experiment used two groups of mice that had symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease. One of them received mefenamic acid, and the other received just a placebo. The treatment lasted for one month.
The group of mice that received the anti inflammatory drug reversed their condition, having the memory levels reach again the quality seen in healthy mice.
While the drug is already used as a treatment in humans, the scientists need further to test the efficiency of the mefenamic acid in patients with Alzheimer’s. The researchers believe that the time for developing a new dementia treatment will be shorter because the anti-inflammatory drug had been studied and tested before.
Usually, a new dementia treatment would need 15 years or more in order to be completely tested and be made available on the market. Exploring the impacts of drugs that are already used in the human treatment and that are already proved to be safe can shorten the time needed for drugs to reach patients.
However, the phase II trials will show if the molecules will have an effect on the brain inflammation in humans. In the meantime, researchers warn that patients with Alzheimer’s disease should not take anti inflammatory drugs because the medicines have side effects that can produce discomfort and even health complications in old age.
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