New Treatment for Alzheimer’s Patients?

Judy Gerstel | March 15th, 2017

A new study has found that treatment with the diabetes drug amylin (or pramlintide) safely improves learning and memory function in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients and reduces the Alzheimer’s pathology in their brains.

The recent findings are published in the journal Translational Research and Clinical Interventions.

“A single injection of pramlintide into our patients was well tolerated and reduced the amyloid burden as well as lowered the concentrations of amyloid-β peptides, a major component of AD in the brain,” explains Dr. Wendy Qiu, associate professor of psychiatry and pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at Boston University School of Medicine.

The study results also suggest a potential role for the creation of a blood test that diagnoses AD. The drug pramlintide could cross the blood-brain barrier and help to bring the biomarkers related to AD pathology, including the amyloid-β peptides and neuroinflammation, from the brain into the bloodstream where they can be detected, explains Dr. Qiu.

Currently, invasive lumbar punctures to detect biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid and PET imaging scans are used to diagnose AD. But the high cost and discomfort of these procedures make them unsuitable for standard diagnoses and screening.