Leukemia Therapy Sprycel May Potentially Treat Alzheimer’s Patients, Study Suggests

Leukemia Therapy Sprycel May Potentially Treat Alzheimer’s Patients, Study Suggests
Researchers have discovered a new mechanism targeted by the leukemia therapy Sprycel that may contribute to Alzheimer's and traumatic brain injury. The team, which effectively targeted this mechanism in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s, now hopes to replicate the test in humans. The study, “Oxidation of KCNB1 channels in the human brain and in mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease,” appeared in the journal Cell Death & Disease. Oxidative stress results from an imbalance between the production and clearance of reactive oxygen species (ROS) – free radicals that may damage DNA, fats and proteins, and whose proliferation is well-known in aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. One of the proteins oxidized by ROS is KCNB1, a potassium channel, which becomes dysfunctional and accumulates in the cell membrane. Subsequently, more free radicals are produced, inducing apoptosis – or programmed cell death. Oxidation and increasing amounts of KCNB1 have appeared in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s, suggesting KCNB1’s role in the disorder. Researchers at New Jersey's Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School used a transgenic mouse model as well as brains from deceased Alzheimer’s patients to better understand the role of oxidized KCNB1. Most previous studies have used animal models only, Federico Sesti, the study’s senior author and a professor of neuroscience and cell biology, noted in a
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