Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine researchers have developed a new class of drugs that appears to treat Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and conditions that result from traumatic brain injury.
Science Daily reports that drugs MW151 and MW189 prevent the brain from overproducing proinflammatory cytokines. Brain inflammation is a common denominator among the above-mentioned diseases and stroke, according to researchers at Northwestern and the University of Kentucky, who published their study July 24 in the Journal of Neuroscience.
“When too many … cytokines are produced, the synapses of the brain begin to misfire,” Science Daily reported. “Eventually the entire organization of the brain falls into disarray, like a computer failing. The neurons lose their connections with each other and can eventually die. The resulting damage in the cortex and hippocampus can compromise memory and decision making.”
When one of the drugs was given to mice that were engineered to develop Alzheimer’s, the drug prevented full-blown development of the disease, reported Science Daily.
In other studies, the drugs reduced traumatic brain injury-induced nerve damage and prevented a disease similar to multiple sclerosis.
Northwestern has reportedly been awarded patents for its new drug class. It also licensed their work to a biotech company that conducted the first human clinical trial.