Researchers at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) have developed a new dementia treatment with a longer duration of efficacy compared to current treatments.
A research team led by Dr. Park Kee-duk at the KIST Convergence Research Center for Dementia DTC and a team led by Lee Chang-joon at the Center for Glia-Neuron Interaction presented the outcome of their joint study that will help patients with dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease.
The researchers found that even though conventional drugs initially improved cognitive function by reducing the amount of GABA produced in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease, a long-term administration led to an increase of GABA and cognitive dysfunction again. GABA is an inhibitory signaling mediator in the central nervous system of mammals and causes memory or cognitive impairment when it is excessively produced by reactive astrocytes.
On the other hand, the candidate drug newly developed by the researchers has been confirmed to improve cognitive function even after a long-term administration.
In addition, the researchers confirmed that cognitive function is restored when they applied the material to a genetically modified Alzheimer's disease mouse model and also found a significant cognitive improving function in a test, where a small dose was administered for long-term.
In particular, when the researchers tested the candidate material for suitability as a drug, they found that the material is delivered to the brain of the human body at a very high efficiency and had no adverse effect on other nervous systems.
In this study, the researchers found reasons that the conventional drugs have failed to be approved despite the short-term efficacy shown in the previous clinical studies and found a new candidate material that overcomes the limitations.
The researchers transferred the technology for the new candidate material to a Korean company in 2017, which will apply for approval on its clinical trial plans this year.