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Fast-tracked treatmentsWe think a cancer drug could beat yet another disease.

Fast-tracked treatments

When professor Gary Landreth, PhD, and researcher Paige Cramer, PhD, pondered how they could change the futures of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, they looked to the past.

Creating a brand-new drug would require decades of testing before it could become widely available. But if a pre-existing medication proved to be a chemical match for their needs, the path to patients would be much shorter.

So Cramer, then a doctoral student, combed through existing medications and zeroed in on bexarotene, a drug the Food & Drug Administration already approved to treat skin cancer.

Tests on mice proved promising: Within days, bexarotene eliminated the plaque believed to be responsible for Alzheimer’s and even reversed some cognitive symptoms of the disease.

Whether the drug will have the same result in humans is yet to be seen. But even the promise of an answer for Alzheimer’s is an impressive opening move.

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