An Alzheimer drug that successfully fight Alzheimer’s disease, depends on developing a precision mouse model, according to a recent study.
Alzheimer’s is a devastating, debilitating disease with no cure. It is a progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, any ability to carry out simple tasks
The statistics are dismal. An estimated 5.7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s. This number includes 5.5 million people age 65 and older and approximately 200,000 individuals under age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer’s. An estimated 550,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s disease will be diagnosed in 2019.
The costs for Alzheimer’s care totaled $226 billion in 2015; $154 billion of which was paid by Medicare and Medicaid. The costs continue to rise.
The prognosis for Alzheimer’s patients is grim. On average, Alzheimer’s patients live eight to 10 years after diagnosis. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 33% of older adults, aged 65+, dies with Alzheimer’s or another kind of dementia.
Finding a drug or drugs that successfully fight against a disease are usually first tested on mice and rats. The reason is that their genetic, biological and behavior characteristics closely resemble those of humans. Many symptoms of human conditions can be replicated in rodents.
In addition, the laboratory mouse allows scientists to model human diseases and conditions in the search for better treatments and cures.
Alzheimer Drug: A Precision Mouse Model Can Help Find The Cure
Researchers at the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine, found that mouse models bred with Alzheimer’s mutations are important for efficient testing of new drugs. Their study was funded, in part, by The National Institute on Aging.
In this study, they tested whether adding genetic variation into a mouse model of Alzheimer’s would parallel the complex features of the human disease.
They combined a well-established mouse model of familial Alzheimer’s (5XFAD) with a genetically diverse set of mice. All members of this family of transgenic mice therefore carry the high-risk human familial Alzheimer’s genes but otherwise have very different genetic make-up. The detailed analysis of this new panel of mice (referred collectively as AD-BXD), showed a high degree of overlap with the genetic, molecular, pathology, and cognitive features of Alzheimer’s.
But, the differences in genetic background led to significant differences in the onset and severity of Alzheimer’s pathology and cognitive decline.
In addition, they found that one popular mouse strain used to test Alzheimer drug candidates, strain C57BL/6J, have resistance factors that slow done the impact of the Alzheimer’s genes.
This is a very important finding as it shows that drug testing results can vary depending on genetic factors.
It will allow researchers to fine tune drugs to attack specific components of Alzheimer’s disease. It will also provide better understanding of normal aging and Alzheimer’s onset. In turn this will give more accurate information on factors that lead to environment and genetic risk factors.