Projects examines FDA approved drugs for Alzheimer’s leads to concerns over research
It has been quite a disappointing period recently for researching Alzheimer’s disease treatments in the last week, after Pfizer announced it would be shutting its neuroscience division and Axovant’s drug candidate flopped.
This recent activity has led to serious fears over the development of potential treatments in the future, as companies become increasingly cautious over the costs involved and the lack of success in the area.
As a result a new project by researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, funding by $2.8 million grant from the National Institute on Aging, offers some hope.
The team will attempt to identify FDA-approved treatments that may be able be repurposed to target Alzheimer’s. The researchers will develop computer algorithms to scan existing drug databases to identify candidates that may hold potential therapeutic benefits.
Building upon work done previously conducted by Rong Xu, principal investigator, they will expand DrugPredict, a program that connects drug characteristics with information about how interactions may occur with human proteins, to find candidates within Alzheimer’s.
The project will focus on compounds that are able to cross the blood-brain barrier.
“Finding drugs that can pass the blood-brain barrier is the ‘holy grail’ for neurological drug discovery,” Xu said. “With this award, we will develop novel machine-learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to predict whether chemicals can pass the blood-brain barrier and whether they may be effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease.”
The research is desperately required, as Alzheimer’s groups sounded warnings over Pfizer’s recent decision to pull out of the area. Alzheimer’s Research UK, for instance, called for charities, the government and the industry to encourage companies to invest in the area.