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Compound Interacts with Receptor in Brain that Plays Role in Neurodegenerative Processes in Alzheimer's Disease

August 31, 2012

A compound developed to treat neuropathic pain has shown potential as an innovative treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study by researchers at Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute and Anesthesiology Institute.

“Cleveland Clinic dedicated two years of research into the examination of this compound and our findings show it could represent a novel therapeutic target in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Mohamed Naguib, MD, Professor of Anesthesiology, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. “Development of this compound as a potential drug for Alzheimer’s would take many more years, but this is a promising finding worthy of further investigation.”

In a study published online in the Neurobiology of Aging, the compound MDA7 induced beneficial immune responses that limited the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment with the compound restored cognition, memory and synaptic plasticity – a key neurological foundation of learning and memory – in an animal model.

Neuroinflammation is an important mechanism involved in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The MDA7 compound has anti-inflammatory properties that act on the CB2 receptor – one of the two cannabinoid receptors in the body – but without the negative side effects normally seen with cannabinoid compounds.

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, fatal brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. About 5 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease. With the aging of the population, and without successful treatment, there will be 16 million Americans and 106 million people worldwide with Alzheimer’s by 2050, according to the 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Dr. Naguib is named on two patent applications on CB2 modulators submitted by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S.News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. About 2,800 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 11,000 nurses represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic Health System includes a main campus near downtown Cleveland, eight community hospitals and 18 Family Health Centers in Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Cleveland Clinic Canada, and opening in 2013, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In 2010, there were 4 million visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 167,000 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 100 countries. Visit us at www.clevelandclinic.org.  Follow us at www.twitter.com/ClevelandClinic.

Media Contact:

Halle Bishop Weston, 216.445.8592, bishoph@ccf.org
Joe Milicia, 216.636.5873, milicij2@ccf.org