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Wonderdrug...To protect nerves


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The BBC news was awash with the new "wonderdrug" and was hailed as the saviour of Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease. Quite rightly you are asking is this the saviour for MS?


Repurposed drugs targeting eIF2α-P-mediated translational repression prevent neurodegeneration in mice. Halliday et al. Brain


I was thinking of gearing up for a post, but I'm not sure I can be bothered to do a proper post. As ever there is a lot of media hype

This work stems from earlier work where the authors found that a drug that blocked protein folding shutdown seemed to help prion infected mice survive. Prion disease is caused by protein misfolding and this occurs in Alzheimer's disease and we showed that this occurs in MS too.

Abnormally phosphorylated tau is associated with neuronal and axonal loss in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis. Anderson JM, Hampton DW, Patani R, Pryce G, Crowther RA, Reynolds R, Franklin RJ, Giovannoni G, Compston DA, Baker D, Spillantini MG, Chandran S. Brain. 2008;131(Pt 7):1736-48


They screened a library and found two drugs that stopped the misfolding issue and it saved mice from two different diseases. 

It is hailed as a "wonderdrug" and a turning point and this has been has been splashed over the news. 

Let's hope so. As I said I am too busy to spend a lot of time on this mouse study, but Let's just look at the wondercure in the two models and let's see what it does!



On the left we can see that mice survive a whole extra ten days before they die from the problem...Wondercure..Yeah.

It says in the media stuff that the drugs arrest...I take this to mean stop...not delay by ten days. This type of delay we see in Motor neuron mice with riluzole and this hasn't been a cure, so don't get your hopes up.

On the right, are mice that accumulate Tau protein and lose news in the hippocampus... they loose 50% rather than 75% of their nerves....Wondercure....Yeah

So there will be a clamour to do a human study, which will take years to do. Will this ultimately go anywhere?  I guess it depends on whether there is a patent. However, it may show something.

However, it is said that people talk trazodone to treat depression. Has this stopped Alzheimer's....obviously not otherwise it would have been known by now....Can it change the trajectory? I don't know. 

So more irresponsible reporting by the BBC and the media 

Trazodone  is an antidepressant of the serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI) class. Trazodone also has anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) and sleep-inducing (hypnotic) effects. However, a side effect of trazodone, orthostatic hypotension, which may cause dizziness and increase the risk of falling. 


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