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Cancer drug 'could treat Alzheimer's'

7th September 2009

A cancer drug could help to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, according to new research.

The drug was found to improve memory in Alzheimer's-afflicted mice, by increasing DNA spool acetylation and gene transcription, scientists at Columbia University Medical Center have found.

Brain neurons make use of a group of chemicals, which attach to DNA spools, in order to create new memories, explain researchers.

Yitshak Francis, author of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease publication, explained: 'These groups, called acetyls, unwind the DNA to make it more accessible.

'For making memories, you need transcription and protein synthesis at the cellular level. If you don't have that, you don't have memory.'

Co-author Mauro Fa added that they hope to start clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease in three to four years.

Recent Cardiff School of Medicine and Washington University research, published in the journal Nature Genetics, indicates that three new genetic mutations have been identified as causing rare, inherited forms of early-onset Alzheimer's.

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