Studies have found that Alzheimers develops in 25% of healthy 80-year-old patients without dementia. Research indicates that a new drug, J147, discovered by Dave Schubert, head of Stalk's Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, helps against Alzheimers and reverses aging in mice by binding to a protein found in the mitochondria; the powerhouse of the cell. J147 is under development and almost ready for clinical trials in humans. Finding the target was critical in moving forward to human trials.
After screening for compounds from plants, Schubert's group developed J147, which is a modified version of the molecule curcumin; found in turmeric. Research has shown that this compound "reverses memory deficits, potentiates the production of new brain cells, and slows or reverses Alzheimer's progression in mice."
A study conducted on mice determined that J147 targets ATP synthase. This helps generate ATP within the mitochondria. They determined that by manipulating the activity, they can protect the neuronal cells from toxicities that are involved with the aging brain. This changes the levels of other molecules leading to a healthier and more stable mitochondria. This study was also proven effective in worms and flies.
“People have always thought that you need separate drugs for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke” says Schubert. “But it may be that by targeting aging we can treat or slow down many pathological conditions that are old-age-associated.” Scientists are hopeful the study will show an impact of modulation in this disease by slowing down the aging of cells.