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2008 Grants - Youdim
Novel Neuroprotective and Neurorestorative Drugs for Alzheimer's Disease
Moussa Youdim, Ph.D.
Technion — Israel Institute of Technology
2008 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
There is increasing evidence that some neurodegenerative diseases are associated with abnormal accumulation of iron in the brain. In persons with Alzheimer's disease, for example, there is evidence that accumulation of iron and resulting cell damage are early events in the development of the disease, occurring before the appearance of amyloid plaque or other characteristic pathologies. These observations suggest that iron accumulation may be a causative factor in Alzheimer's disease.
Several chemical compounds are known to bind to iron and thereby may prevent it from causing cellular damage. Such compounds are interesting as potential therapies to alter the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Unfortunately, many of the best known compounds are toxic or otherwise not suitable for use in humans.
Moussa Youdim, Ph.D., and colleagues have developed a series of chemical compounds that bind to iron, are nontoxic, and can cross the blood-brain barrier, the brain's defense against foreign substances. They have shown that some of these compounds can prevent damage caused by excessive iron in cultured cells. Dr. Youdim and colleagues plan to continue studying these compounds in cultured nerve cells, as well as in mice that have been genetically altered to express Alzheimer-like pathology. These studies may determine whether specific iron-binding drugs should be studied in clinical trials of Alzheimer's disease.