Alzheimer’s: Notes from a Stricken Land…

Good morning, ProviderNation.

There’s (kinda) good news after (a lot) of bad news from that rogue state known as Alzheimer’s disease.

First, the (kinda) good. The Salk Institute says that it has developed a drug that “reverses memory deficits and slows Alzheimer’s disease.” The drug, which the Salk folks are calling J147, appears to have made some headway in demented mice after what they’re calling “short term” treatments.

Then, there’s ReXceptor, a Cleveland startup that just won a license to repurpose anti-cancer drugs. They’ll begin Phase I trials later this year. Similar treatments, which tried to get patients’ bodies to get rid of poisonous beta amyloid plaques, have already reached Phase III before tanking, but ReXceptor says they’re taking a slightly different approach.

“We’re not trying to take [beta amyloid] out of the body entirely; we’re trying to restore a natural function,” CEO Michael Haag told MedCityNews.com. “Everyone produces a certain amount of amyloid beta which can be shuttled out of the brain, but as you age, you have less and less of those carrier proteins. We want to give the brain back these carrier proteins.”

Those hoping for regime change in Alzheimer’s can’t draw much cheer from these developments, because they’ve been there before. But for those living (and, mostly, dying) from it maybe there’s no such thing as worse news.

By the by, for those of you interested in the Senate immigration bill, I recommend the verbiage of my ole pal, Alan Gomez, at USA Today.  He’s @alangomez for you Twitterati.

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