Image Credit: Courtesy of MD Anderson Cancer Center

Health USA4. June 2024

Treatments to Cure Both Cancer and Alzheimer’s in the Works

A team of scientists, clinicians and drug development experts based in the United States is actively working on developing effective treatments that could cure both cancer and Alzheimer’s diseases.

“We are constantly discovering unexpected connections between Alzheimer’s and cancer,” says Jim Ray, Ph.D., executive director of the Belfer Neurodegeneration Consortium (BNC). “By studying the fundamental causes of neurodegenerative diseases, we hope to develop therapies that promote nervous system health and function in cancer patients, too.”

BNC is a multi-institutional initiative – it regroups MD Anderson, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, Baylor College of Medicine, and New York University – established to understand neurodegenerative diseases better and develop effective therapeutic interventions. Since Alzheimer’s and cancer share risk factors and have similar biological pathways of diseases, some dementia therapies studied at BNC could potentially treat cancer. For example, patients with both illnesses share identical inflammatory responses in the brain’s immune cells called microglia, contributing to memory loss and nerve damage. Five new drugs to treat Alzheimer’s and related diseases will be developed over the next ten years, hoping that two of those will show meaningful evidence of changing the course of the disease. Out of the 12 projects targeting various aspects of Alzheimer’s, one is already proceeding to a Phase I clinical trial. An estimated 7 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, and 1 in 3 over the age of 65 is expected to develop dementia.

MD Anderson

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