Novel drug developed by Auburn U researchers aims to curb Alzheimer's disease

A compound that may help prevent early onset of Alzheimer's disease in some people is being developed by researchers at Auburn (Ala.) University. 

Known as "AU403IS," this unique compound — which is the intellectual property of Auburn University — could help those who have "a genetic variant that may make certain people more susceptible to Alzheimer's disease at an earlier age," according to a March 14 news release.

The National Institutes of Health granted $1.1 million in support of the research, which is being led by the university's Harrison College of Pharmacy Associate Professor Raj Amin, PhD. 

Dr. Amin and graduate student researcher Ian Steinke, who developed the novel drug, used computer simulation to create it. The compound works by activating nuclear receptors in the liver that in turn may help to regulate the genetic variant — known as the APOe4 allele — that causes Alzheimer's in the brain. 

"The unique properties of the compound help to alter the cholesterol pattern in the brain for patients, resulting in helping reduce pathology and inflammation associated with the progression of the disease," the release states.

The compound still has a long way to go before any use of it is widely available, but the two are hopeful the research will lead to better outcomes for patients in the future.

"This is a very exciting and promising field with lots of challenges and opportunities to explore, including considerable testing needed for evaluating the safety, efficacy and bioavailability [of] this substance," Dr. Amin said in a statement. "We hope this compound may help individuals with the APOe4 allele."

Dr. Amin and Mr. Steinke's research is being funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke's Innovation Grants to Nurture Initial Translational Efforts.

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