Novel class of Alzheimer's drugs looks promising in animals

A new class of drugs known as nomethiazoles has shown promise in animal studies as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Researchers at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, discovered the compounds and presented details of their findings at the recent Alzheimer's International Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The scientists caution that animal model success won't guarantee that the compounds work in people, and research in humans is years away. But the research team determined that the mechanism of action for nomethiazoles helped improve cognition and also lower levels of amyloid-beta and tau protein in two Alzheimer's animal models. Higher levels of both proteins are typical in patients who develop Alzheimer's.

Researcher Gregory Thatcher, now at the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy, discovered the compounds. Startup SGC Pharma of Wellesley, MA, licensed the compounds and is developing them.

For the Vancouver conference, researchers presented data on SGC-1061, one of the new class of compounds. And in animal studies, it appeared to help improve central nervous system synaptic function, whose decline is typically associated with Alzheimer's. Coming next: proof of concept evaluations in target populations.

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