Findings: A growing body of experimental data in animals and clinical observations in patients raise the possibility that uncontrolled brain inflammation could contribute to Alzheimer's disease onset and progression. Dr. Linda Van Eldik, who was funded by Alzheimer's Disease Research, led a collaborative team of researchers from the University of Kentucky and Northwestern University to test an experimental anti-inflammation drug, called MW-151, in mice carrying a human form of early-onset Alzheimer's disease. This drug, which selectively suppresses inflammation by dampening the production of pro-inflammatory proteins, when given to younger mice, seems to slow the onset and progression of disease. Advantages of MW-151 are that it can be taken by mouth and readily enters the brain—which are desirable properties not held by many other Alzheimer's drug candidates.
Significance: Dr. Van Eldik and colleagues have found that treating young mice at risk for Alzheimer's with a new oral anti-inflammatory drug candidate can protect the brain from damage and slow disease onset and progression. If more laboratory tests confirm the effectiveness of MW-151, this drug promises to be an exciting candidate for future clinical trials. The findings of this research also suggest that other anti-inflammatory treatments should be given in a more preventive fashion, before a full set of symptoms appear, to maintain brain cell connections and functions.