Drs. Larry Denner and Kelly Dineley, a husband-wife team at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, are conducting research on an FDA-approved drug that had initially been used to treat insulin resistance in people with diabetes and now has shown promise as a way to improve cognitive performance in some humans with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Working with transgenic mice designed to serve as models for Alzheimer’s, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers found that treatment with the anti-insulin-resistance drug rosiglitazone enhanced learning and memory as well as normalizing insulin resistance,” said the announcement released today. “The scientists believe the drug produced the response by reducing the negative influence of Alzheimer’s on the behavior of a key brain signaling molecule.”
A few days ago the researchers visited with Guidry News Service. Listen
“I do stem cell research related to diabetes,” Dr. Denner said. “The work that Kelly and I do together is really born out of our mutual interest and training in neuroscience and how Alzheimer’s and diabetes - we thought many, many years ago - had some commonalities; which has been borne out over and over again over the course of time.”
“The idea with the commonality between diabetes and Alzheimer’s, I think, started when I was a post-doctoral fellow and we were still dating,” Dr. Dineley added. “The drugs that we had been investigating as memory enhancers in our Alzheimer’s models are also FDA-approved drugs for diabetes.”
Dr. Dineley said that she is excited by the results of the study.
“We found that, yes indeed, this major signal pathway was being pulled in by this drug target that we are investigating,” she said. “So it was very interesting to us that this drug that enhances cognition is not just doing something unique, it’s going in and it is harnessing a disregulated system and getting it back to normal. So, it’s not doing it by any magic set of proteins or genes; it’s actually going in and fixing the ones that are not functioning properly that probably underlies the cognitive deficits that we observed in this animal.”
“We actually think that it emanates, that it originates, in our Alzheimer’s animals in the brain," Dr. Denner added. “It’s not a peripheral insulin resistance.”
Now, the UTMB research team and other investigators across the world are starting clinical trials to investigate the value of therapies for insulin resistance in early-stage Alzheimer’s disease in humans.
For the official news release Click Here