A new drug could be developed into a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease following tests by a group of British researchers.
After identifying a protein known as serum amyloid P component (SAP), the scientists at University College London were able to develop a new small molecule drug, CPHPC, which specifically targets SAP and removes it from the blood.
They then carried out a study of the drug in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, giving a three-month course of CPHPC to five people.
The study’s findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, identified the usual depletion of SAP from the blood – seen in all subjects receiving this treatment – and also disappearance of SAP from the brain.
One of the study’s co-authors, Professor Martin Rossor, commented: “The safety of CPHPC, together with the novel action of the drug in removing SAP from the brain, is very encouraging.”
Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, which helped fund the study said: “The results are cause for cautious optimism. New treatments for Alzheimer’s disease are desperately needed, and it’s possible that this small molecule could be a future candidate.
“However, at the moment it is too early to tell whether it will have any benefit to Alzheimer’s patients. Larger and longer term studies are needed.”
Copyright Press Association 2009