New drug SAK3 may offer hope to Alzheimer's disease patients

January 26, 2017, Tohoku University
The discovery of SAK3 to enhance T-type calcium channels in nerve terminals. Credit: Kohji Fukunaga

Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that plays an important role in controlling attention and cognition. Acetylcholine system dysfunction is believed to be one of the causes of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia.

Now, a new that could treat Alzheimer's disease, SAK3, has been developed by a Japanese research group led by Tohoku University Professor Kohji Fukunaga.

In their study, the researchers found that the T-type calcium channel enhancer, SAK3, stimulates the release of acetylcholine in the brain and improves cognition by activating the memory molecule CaMKII. According to Professor Fukunaga, SAK3 also reduces the production of in the study's model mice. This, he says, could lead to the development of the first disease-modifying drug to prevent mild to severe Alzheimer disease.

SAK3 is now in the preclinical stage of drug development, and has so far proven to be safe and well-tolerated in animal experiments. Clinical trials are expected to begin in the next few years.

This research is partially supported by the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development's Project of Translational and Clinical Research Core Center.

Explore further: Alzheimer's disease found to be a diabetic disorder of the brain

More information: Yasushi Yabuki et al, Pharmacological properties of SAK3, a novel T-type voltage-gated Ca2+ channel enhancer, Neuropharmacology (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2017.01.011

Related Stories

Alzheimer's disease found to be a diabetic disorder of the brain

November 9, 2016
Researchers at Tohoku University have found a promising treatment for Alzheimer's disease, by noticing a similarity in the way insulin signaling works in the brain and in the pancreas of diabetic patients.

Glaucoma drug may have potential to treat Alzheimer's disease

December 9, 2016
A drug which is used to treat the common eye disease glaucoma may have potential as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease, according to scientists at UCL.

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease

June 17, 2016
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) have been pursued for decades as potential molecular targets to treat cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease (AD) due to their demonstrated role in processes underlying cognition ...

Intracellular dopamine receptor function may offer hope to schizophrenia patients

December 9, 2016
Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that plays an important role in controlling movement, emotion and cognition. Dopamine dysfunction is believed to be one of the causes of disorders like Schizophrenia, Tourette's syndrome, ...

Potential Alzheimer's medication shows promise in mouse model of neurodegenerative disease

December 19, 2016
Memory loss and other cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's disease are attributed, in part, to the degeneration of acetylcholine-producing neurons. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are a common treatment for patients with Alzheimer's; ...

Possible biological function for the Alzheimer protein amyloid-beta

November 4, 2015
A new study from Karolinska Institutet shows that amyloid-β-peptides, which are thought to be toxic and a suspected cause of Alzheimer's disease, actually have a biological function. The discovery, which is published in ...

Recommended for you

More than senior moments: better dementia detection is urged

July 22, 2018
Too few people with signs of mental decline or dementia are getting checked during routine medical visits or told when a problem is found, says a panel of Alzheimer's disease experts who offered new guidance Sunday.

Pregnancy history may be tied to Alzheimer's disease

July 18, 2018
A woman's history of pregnancy may affect her risk of Alzheimer's disease decades later, according to a study published in the July 18, 2018, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. ...

Molecular tracer, seen with PET scan, shows concentrations of abnormal proteins

July 17, 2018
In a small study of military personnel who had suffered head trauma and had reported memory and mood problems, UCLA researchers found brain changes similar to those seen in retired football players with suspected chronic ...

Yale-developed test for Alzheimer's disease directly measures synaptic loss

July 16, 2018
Yale researchers have tested a new method for directly measuring synaptic loss in individuals with Alzheimer's disease. The method, which uses PET imaging technology to scan for a specific protein in the brain linked to synapses, ...

New study highlights Alzheimer's herpes link, experts say

July 12, 2018
A new commentary by scientists at the Universities of Manchester and Edinburgh on a study by Taiwanese epidemiologists supports the viability of a potential way to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Practice imperfect—repeated cognitive testing can obscure early signs of dementia

July 12, 2018
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive, neurodegenerative condition that often begins with mild cognitive impairment or MCI, making early and repeated assessments of cognitive change crucial to diagnosis and treatment.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.