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Nerve Growth Factor

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By Report by the AD Educ & Referral Ctr • www.ProHealth.com • March 21, 1997


In the near future, NIA's ADCS plans to test several other therapies for AD. In addition to estrogen, drugs that interact with or increase the supply of NGF are promising. However, because NGF is a relatively large molecule, it cannot go through the protective blood-brain barrier, and thus, cannot be used in drug form. The blood-brain barrier is a system of tightly knit cells that form a boundary around the blood vessels of the brain and permit only certain substances to cross from the blood into the brain. "Many drugs may never get a fair shot," says Dr. Simpkins. "One issue that repeatedly derails promising compounds is that with no effective transport system, many good drugs do not get into the brain. Often, enormous therapeutic opportunities are lost."

In looking for ways to enhance the benefits of drugs in the brain, a small biotechnology company has developed a drug that stimulates the release of NGF and other neurotrophins (substances that help neurons grow and regenerate). The ADCS is considering a clinical trial to evaluate this drug.

Source: Connections Magazine [Volume 6(1), Spring 1997

References

Aisen, P.S.; Davis, K.L. Inflammatory Mechanisms in Alzheimer's Disease: Implications for Therapy. American Journal of Psychiatry. 151(8): 1105-1113. August 1994.
Paganini-Hill, A.; Henderson, V.W. Estrogen Deficiency and Risk of Alzheimer's Disease in Women. American Journal of Epidemiology. 140(3): 256-261. August 1, 1994.
Rogers, J.; et al. Clinical Trial of Indomethacin in Alzheimer's Disease. Neurology. 43(8): 1609-1611. August 1993.
Simpkins, J.W.; Singh, M.; Bishop, J. The Potential Role for Estrogen Replacement Therapy in the Treatment of the Cognitive Decline and Neurodegeneration Associated With Alzheimer's Disease. Neurobiology of Aging. 15(Suppl 2): S195-S197. 1994.
Stewart, W.F.; et al. Risk of Alzheimer's Disease and Duration of NSAID Use. Neurology. 48(3): 626-632. March 1997.
Tang, M.X.; et al. Effect of Oestrogen During Menopause on Risk and Age at Onset of Alzheimer's Disease. The Lancet. 348(9025): 429-432. August 17, 1996.
Thal, L. Future Directions for Research in Alzheimer's Disease. Neurobiology of Aging. 15(Suppl 2): S71-S72. 1994.
Whitehouse, P.J. Cholinergic Therapy in Dementia. ACTA Neurology Scandinavia. Suppl 149: 42-45. 1993.



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