Drug combinations in single pill may cure nerve diseases

January 31st, 2009 - 4:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 31 (IANS) A single pill combining the benefits of multiple drugs potentially holds the key to treating degeneration of nerves and the diseases caused by this development, according to a new study. Drugs that protect neurons, for instance, can be used with those targeting memory to make real progress in treating Alzheimer’s, said Jerry Buccafusco, founding director of the Medical College of Georgia Alzheimer’s Research Centre (MGCARC).

Besides, advantages to multi-functional drug compounds include fewer side effects, said Buccafusco.

“We realise that with neurodegenerative diseases there will not be one magic bullet,” Buccafusco said.

“Developing new therapeutics will require an attack on many different levels. But, right now, there are no FDA-approved compounds out there that are significantly disease-modifying. We’re at the point where we’re just getting to that,” he said.

Alzheimer’s treatment, for instance, should combine molecules that protect neurons from plaque build-up with approved therapies like cholinesterase inhibitors, which treat cognition and memory loss, Buccafusco said.

He also cited several novel drug candidates developed at the MCGARC, including two molecules that prevent cell death in the brain and improve cognition, reaction time and attention, said a Georgia release.

“What we have to do now is look at drugs that have already been developed to address very specific disease targets and come up with new ways to combine constituent groups of active molecules into a single therapeutic agent,” Buccafusco said.

The study appeared in the January issue of NeuroTherapeutics.

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