Solving Alzheimer's with a Cancer Drug?
Sunday, August 14 2011
In an article posted on ABC news researchers have found that a skin cancer drug called bexarotene, has shown the ability to fight Alzheimer's disease in mice. This is leading to a debate on whether doctors should be prescribing bexarotene to their Alzheimer's patients. Most experts argue that such a prescription would be unethical and highly dangerous because there has not been any human testing yet. Since bexarotene is already approved by the FDA for treating skin cancer, doctors can technically prescribe it "off label" to patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease. These doctors that are against using bexrotene in this fashion, argue that the normal side affects of the drug, which include increased cholesterol mixed with other medications Alzheimer's patients take could be deadly. Normal Alzheimer's drugs don't treat the cause of the disease, but make the symptoms more bearable. The reason there is excitement around using bexarotene, is that in studies performed on mice bexarotene is shown to attack the disease directly by cleaning up beta-amyloid protein plaques in the brain. Similar drugs have been found to do the same thing in the past on mice, but have failed on humans. This radical idea isn't quite there yet, but it if further testing on humans goes well we could be seeing groundbreaking stuff. To read the complete article: Click Here