Examining the effects of S1P receptor drugs in Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimers disease (AD) represents one of the major brain illnesses that we now face. Treatments against this disease are limited and offer little in terms of cure. With the global population age now rising, AD is suggested to affect 1 in every 3 people. If left untreated, AD has potential to bring about collapse in healthcare, financial and societal systems. Given the gravity this illness could pose on humanity we have little choice but to investigate all probable avenues of treatment. Recently, a new drug called fingolimod has been shown to be beneficial in animal models of AD, providing some hope, which warrants immediate follow-up study. This drug is already approved as the first oral medicine for use in patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) making its use in patients with AD a real possibility. Fingolimod works by binding to proteins called S1P receptors(S1PRs) on immune cells which stops bad immune cells getting into the brain. Fingolimod also binds to S1PRs on brain cells and is thought to promote directly the good function of these brain cells. This double-action on immune and brain systems provides some optimism for the use of S1PR drugs in AD. Additional hope comes from the fact that new, more selective S1PR drugs (compared to fingolimod) have now been developed; however, these new selective S1PR drugs have never been tested in animal models of AD. In this project, we will test if these new S1PR drugs provide neuroprotection in animal models of AD. If these selective S1PR drugs prove to limit brain damage in animal models of AD, this will pave the way for development of a new class of S1PR drugs for the treatment of AD.

Award Date
19 June 2014
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Kumlesh K Dev
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin
Health Research Awards