A study led by Monash University has discovered a new treatment that stabilizes growing behavioral problems and reverses brain contractions due to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
It is said to be the second clinical study to show that the drug sodium selenate may slow the decline in cognitive ability and neurodegenerative damage that are hallmarks of these conditions.
The behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) can occur in people over the age of 35 years. It is characterized by behavioral disorders and personality changes and can be very devastating and disturbing for both patients and their families. There are no treatments or treatments for bvFTD, and the typical survival is 5-7 years from diagnosis.
A phase 1 study – led by Dr Lucy Vivas of the Department of Neurology at Monash University and said to be the only one in Australia to target this type of bvFTD and one of several worldwide – found that sodium selenate is safe and well tolerated in patients with bvFTD. for 12 months.
Most patients receiving sodium selenate showed no change in their cognitive or behavioral symptoms and decreased levels of brain atrophy during the trial period.
In almost half of the cases with bvFTD damage to brain neurons is caused by an accumulation of a protein called Tau. This protein is a major target for research in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as a way to reverse the neurodegeneration caused by this accumulation of tau.
According to Dr. Vivash, sodium selenate activates an enzyme in the brain that effectively attacks tau protein. Earlier, we showed in a Phase 2 study that patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease who took sodium selenate experienced less neurodegeneration than those who did not.
In addition, in those patients who participated in the study, with higher levels of selenium, a breakdown product of sodium selenate, there was a smaller decrease in cognitive ability in blood flow.
The research team is now conducting a larger study in many hospitals in Australia and New Zealand to further test whether this drug is useful for patients with bvFTD.