Mary Ann Malack-Ragona, Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Alzheimer's Association Long Island, says a recent finding that a drug used to cure skin cancer may also be used to reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease is an indication that researchers may be one step closer to finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease.
A team of researchers from Case Western University tested Bexarotene - a drug which is used in humans to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a rare form of skin cancer - on a group of mice with plaque in their brains containing beta-amyloid proteins and which had behavioral and cognitive impairment, similar to those found in Alzheimer's patients. A few hours after being administered the drug, the plaque in the mice's brains cleared, according to the researchers' findings. Further, the mice began to regain their cognitive abilities within a few days, as well as their sense of smell.
Currently, 5.4 million people in this country have Alzheimer's disease and more than 60,000 of them reside on Long Island. By the middle of this century, it is estimated that approximately 14-16 million people will have a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease; 1 out of 8 baby boomers is at risk.
Ms. Malack-Ragona said the recent study - along with the Obama administration's decision to provide additional funding for Alzheimer's research and care - will mean researchers will be able to find a cure for this disease even sooner. She also says the Obama administration needs to stay focused on the need to continue to fund research for a cure for Alzheimer's disease and, at the same time, provide support and resources for family members caring for a loved one with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.
"The recent move by President Obama and his administration in requesting additional research funding from Congress will give this type of research a chance to move forward," Ms. Malack-Ragona said. "This study provides good insight into a possible way to, at the very least, slow down Alzheimer's. The fact that Bexarotene has already been approved for human consumption should help to pave the way for a streamlined clinical trial process. There is much work to be done to find a cure for Alzheimer's and each and every research project that is on the 'drawing boards,' if funded appropriately, can and will lead us to a world without Alzheimer's."
For more information, please contact Mary Ann Malack-Ragona, Executive Director/CEO at (631) 820-8068 or visit www.alz.org/longisland.
About Alzheimer's Association
The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit www.alz.org.