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How the world got lost on
the road to an anti-aging pill
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October 11, 2013: by Bill Sardi
It’s being called a “turning point in the history of Alzheimer’s disease” as scientists report they have halted the death of brain cells in laboratory mice.
Investigators say this discovery may “raise the possibility of new drugs to treat brain conditions like Parkinson’s disease as well as Alzheimer’s.”
These researchers describe their work “as the first real evidence it is possible to use a drug to stop diseased brain cells from dying.”
The discovery involves mis-folded proteins that form within maze-like tubules in brain cells called the endoplasmic reticulum. While these mis-shapen proteins do not directly kill brain cells, they die indirectly in their effort to protect themselves. Brain cells simply stop making new proteins that are required for cell survival.
The provision of an oral small-molecule drug switches protein production back on and halts progressive brain disease in its tracks.
However, the drug induced serious side effects and is not expected to be used in humans. Researchers claim new treatments based on this discovery “are at least a decade away.”
The drug is an inhibitor of an enzyme called protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase, or PERK.
The brain disease was intentionally induced in laboratory animals and “all untreated animals succumbed to the disease.” But the animals given experimental PERK inhibitor drug GSK2606414 “were free of diagnostic signs of the disease 7 to 9 weeks after initiation of the study.”
Disappointingly, the drug ended up inducing high blood sugar via lack of insulin as it caused pancreatic cell death. In other words, this developmental drug traded a brain disease for a metabolic disease.
Just precisely what is GSK2606414? It turns out to be a synthetic PERK inhibitor that was first described by researchers at a major pharmaceutical company in August of 2012.
Pharmaceutical scientists don’t hold an exclusive claim over PERK inhibitors. A number of natural molecules have been described in the medical literature that inhibit mis-folded proteins.
Resveratrol, known as a red wine molecule, is one of the best-studied molecules that inhibits misfolded proteins in living cells. Resveratrol has been shown to inhibit brain disease induced in the same manner as this widely-touted recent study.
The pharmaceutical company that developed GSK2606414 had previously acquired a resveratrol-based developmental drug for $720 million in 2008.
Then suddenly, five years later, that pharmaceutical company walked away from the resveratrol drug company and ceased all further research and development.
The world is advised to wait for a pharmaceutical company to develop a drug, a patentable pharmaceutical that is admittedly years away from human use and ended up trading one disease for another, while a natural molecule that has been safely used by humans and is widely available, goes unheralded. Was a developmental drug company purchased in 2008 to intentionally shelve resveratrol? How much longer can humanity tolerate this charade by the medical-pharmaceutical monopoly that develops drugs society can no longer afford and has no time to wait for? #### ®2013 Bill Sardi, ResveratrolNews.com