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Saturday, March 24th 2007


Drug development takes some twisting roads sometimes. Such is the case with Flurizan (r-flubiprofen). This Alzheimer drug is showing promise in pretty significantly slowing the progression of the disease in clinical trails but it certainly wasn’t initially tested, when first discovered, to battle Alzheimer’s.

[Myraid Genetics] said Monday that four out of 10 subjects in recently extended Phase 2 clinical trials showed improvement – or at least got no worse – over the two years they received Flurizan.

The drug targets Abeta 42, the toxic protein believed to trigger the so-called “senile plaque” that kills cells and robs memories from Alzheimer’s sufferers. Flurizan recently began 18-month, Phase 3 trials in preparation for Food and Drug Administration and European regulators’ reviews.

“We certainly like the new data,” said [Myraid Pharmacutical President Adrian] Hobden. “People think Alzheimer’s is an inevitably progressive disease, and now here’s the possibility of [patients] taking a drug like Flurizan to not get any worse, or even get better.”

In Alzheimer’s senile (aka amyloid aka neuritic) plaques, consisting of a core of beta-amyloid, build up and probably are the cause of the neuronal death with causes the gross brain atrophy and all the neurological problems of the disease.

Beta-Amyloid At The Center of A Plaque

Flurizan alters the enzymes which cleave beta-amyloid from amyloid precursor protein, so that less toxic forms of amyloid protein are cleaved.

Since at least 2002 there’s been evidence of flurbiprofen’s potential to alter the way the enzyme gamma secretase cleaves the amyloid precursor protein and thus to decrease production of beta-amyloid.

As a quote from the Salt Lake Tribune story spells out we should be cautious in hope,

While impressed with the news, P. Murali Doraiswamy, chief of biological psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center and an Alzheimer’s Foundation of America medical advisory board member, emphasized the results must be borne out by the Phase 3 testing.

“These data are quite encouraging, but I would still urge people to be cautious,” he said. “At most, this offers some initial hope that many people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s will be able to stay stable, perhaps improve.”

But still this is good news.

[Cancer.gov: R-flurbiprofen]
[Myraid Genetics: Flurizan]