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HIV Medication Could Slow Dementia

HIV Medication Could Slow Dementia

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

The drug clears toxic brain proteins and had positive results in mice.

Maraviroc (Selzentry), an antiretroviral treatment approved for HIV, has also reportedly aided the brain functions caused by dementia in mice, according to a study published in Neuron.

Researchers from Cambridge Institute for Medical Research and the UK Dementia Research Institute at the University of Cambridge in England identified that autophagy, the body’s natural way of cleaning out damaged cells, did not work correctly in mice with dementia, including those with Huntington’s disease.

Neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s can lead to the degradation and death of brain cells after a buildup of toxic proteins in the brain.

Although the results from the study were encouraging, Dr. Marc Gordon, chief of neurology at Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York, told Medical News Daily, “It is still very early in the process. Typically, from this point, if all goes well, it could take 12 to 15 years to get to a new drug. However, since researchers used an existing drug, it could be as soon as five to eight years.”

Dr. David Merrill, director of the Pacific Neuroscience Institute’s Pacific Brain Health Center at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in California, added, “Finding new ways of looking at dementia, such as Huntington’s, is helpful. Looking at potential other causes of dementia could help us find treatments. Right now, around 99 percent of drug trials for dementia have failed and there are no treatments, so new medications are needed.”

Recently, scientists have linked dementia with inflammation, as neuroinflammation was found across three different types of frontotemporal dementia, as well as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases.

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