Alzheimer’s Reversed in Mice

Many Care2 readers might not like to hear about this research conducted using mice. (While it’s too late to protest this particular instance, protesting the use of animals in research generally is still worthwhile.)

Aside from the animal issues, it is good news – a cancer drug called bexarotene was found to reduce amyloid beta, the protein in the brain linked to Alzheimer’s, and it improved cognitive function in mice. The reduction of that protein was 25 percent in just six hours.

“The data we provide here really suggest that Alzheimer’s could be, in the early stages, a reversible disease,” explained Paige Cramer, a graduate student at Case Western Reserve. (Source: MSNBC)

Mice with a mouse model of Alzheimer’s were used. Every mouse tested for nest building, maze running, smell, and fear conditioning was affected by the cancer drug.

It isn’t clear yet if positive results in mice from bexarotene will also be achievable in humans. Bexarotene is believe to have the ability to help clear amyloid beta from brain tissue by promoting the production of another protein called Apolipoprotein E.

In 2008, a different research study noted the potential of Apolipoprotein E to reduce amyloid beta, “Our data suggest that therapeutic agents that increase the levels of lipidated forms of ApoE, including LXR agonists, represent a potentially efficacious therapy for AD,” said one of the researchers. (Source: Science Daily)

Research on humans with Alzheimer’s using bexarotene might begin late this year. Bexarotene is an FDA-approved drug used to treat a type of skin cancer. Using an existing drug is a smart approach because developing a new one from scratch can be very expensive and time-consuming. Plus, this one already has been approved for one disease, so achieving another FDA approval might be quicker, should it prove to be a successful treatment.

Over five million Americans are believed to have Alzheimer’s. In 2010 82,000 American deaths were caused by it.

Some research also has shown turmeric could prevent or reduce the formation of the amyloid proteins.

Image Credit: NIH, Public Domain


Related Links
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Do Hot Dogs Cause Alzheimer’s


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

there HAVE to be other ways to discover things than abusing animals.

Carole R.
Carole R5 years ago

This sounds hopeful. I hope they continue the research.

Lynn Squance
Lynn Squance5 years ago

Very interesting development and I'd like to know more. My mother is third generation Alzheimers and I would prefer not to be the fourth.


Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe6 years ago

My Mom was one of the 82,000 American deaths in 2010 caused by Alzheimer’s.
Yes, I would like them to find a cure or a reversal of the disease, but I don't think testing on mice will give the true answer.
I will have to pick up some Turmeric and give it a try.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener6 years ago


Kara C.
Kara C6 years ago

Two things. One mice don't get altzheimers. Two this was an already approved drug currently being used so why not give it to a human with the disease. This is good news but these mice shouldn't have been abused at all.

Selma A.
Selma A6 years ago

Many diseases were cured or treated on animals yet the drugs never worked for humans. We're not mice, we're humans. Who of you all want to be the first human that this drug is tested on? I thought not! There's an Alzheimer's research facility in the city where I live. If the FDA deems this drug is "safe", eventually they'll have human trials. Of course this may be 10 years from now. In the meantime, I'll take some tumeric and keep my fingers crossed that me and my family aren't part of the growing statistics.

J.L. A.
JL A6 years ago

similar research was also successful reversing the accelerated aging in the similar condition in mice (like goes with Down Syndrome in humans)............

Laurie D.
Laurie D6 years ago

I would like a follow up article please -- For those who have a diet RICH in Tumeric, what percentage have Alzheimer's? Is this disease significantly lower than in cultures who don't use this spice??? Please give us some stats.

Annemarie W.
Annemarie L6 years ago

wow, interesting stuff