New Alzheimer's medication developed at Vanderbilt, now being te - WSMV Channel 4

New Alzheimer's medication developed at Vanderbilt, now being tested in humans

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

There is no cure for Alzheimer's, the progressive type of dementia affecting memory, thinking and behavior, but a promising new drug created at Vanderbilt is being tested there right now in people.

"That's what this medication is all about: improving quality of life, improving symptoms, giving people more time, and really reversing some of the effects of the disease," said Dr. Paul Newhouse, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Cognitive Medicine.

Newhouse and his research team have spent three years testing in animals a new medication for Alzheimer's disease, developed from a molecule discovered at Vanderbilt.

The FDA just cleared the drug to move into human studies, first in healthy volunteers to determine the right dose and side effects, if any.

If proven to have a positive effect on the brain, Alzheimer's patients are next.

"We hope to be into patients within a year or two," Newhouse added.

Newhouse said the fact it's gone from what he calls "bench to bedside" at Vanderbilt is a very big deal, putting Vanderbilt on the map for Alzheimer's discovery and development.

"This is the first time in the country that someone at a university has moved a new medicine from discovery all the way to human trials within the same institution,” Newhouse said. "It's a precedent-setting event for us."

Newhouse likens this new medication to squeezing more juice out of a lemon: it stimulates the same parts of the brain as previous medications, but in a new way, to get even more improvement in memory, attention and functioning in patients.

He encourages older people to have their memory checked as part of their routine health check-ups.

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