Scientists from the School of Medicine of the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) designed a multi-target compound that acts on three pharmacological targets of Alzheimer’s disease.
The drug was evaluated computationally in cell lines and animal models, and was found to have very similar effects to a compound called galantamine, which is currently used to treat this condition in mild and moderate stages.
Product of a decade of research led by Dr. Martha Cecilia Rosales Hernández, the multi target compound improves memory, since it is capable of inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, increases acetylcholine within the synapses and increases neurotransmission, said the expert.
Alzheimer’s, said the specialist, is a disease that is difficult to diagnose because it is frequently confused with senile dementia and although in Mexico there are no exact figures of the disease, it is estimated that it affects between six and nine percent of the population over 60 years of age.
The researcher explained that the drug also works to prevent the formation of plaques, by inhibiting aggregation of Beta-amyloid protein and the enzyme Beta secretase, responsible for hydrolyzing the amyloid precursor protein in the fragments known as peptides of BHeta-amyloid, join to form the plates.
Dr. Rosales Hernández said that the product developed to prevent the aggregation of Beta-amyloid peptide, which produces the growth of plaques and some pro-inflammatory molecules that cause the production of reactive oxygen species.
In order to understand the Beta-amyloid peptide behavior, the IPN researchers computationally design molecules that interact with it, which allows having specific structures aimed to avoid the aggregation of the peptide. The functioning of the molecules is evaluated with computational tools, and the three or five that show the best activity are chosen. This process saves time and money in research.
When comparing this multi target compound with galantamine, the researchers corroborate that it has very similar effects. So far, there is no medication that attacks several targets, said Dr. Martha Rosales and indicated that pharmacokinetic tests, toxicity studies and lethal doses in animals are still required before moving on to the clinical stage.
The IPN researcher said that even though they have already tested the multi-target compound, the search continues for other possible drugs that help treat this disease, which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is the fifth cause of death in the world and if this trend continues is projected that in 30 years it is one of the three first causes of deaths in the world.
Source: Agencia ID