22 August, 2005: Scientists are investigating a class of pharmaceuticals that may well improve memory function, including those with Alzheimer's disease, and address some of the underlying causes of memory loss rather than today's drugs that simply treat symptoms.
Cortex Pharmaceuticals is testing and developing a second-generation class of pharmaceuticals classified as ampakine compounds. Its lead compound, CX-717, is expected to treat the memory and thinking disorders associated with Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Alzheimer's disease as well as other disorders. It is believed that loss of connections between brain cells is responsible for memory loss. Ampakine compounds are said to increase the signal strength at those connections. (See http://www.cortexpharm.com/ for more detail.)
Ampakines are designed to compensate for deterioration of AMPA-receptor mediated brain activity in patients with Alzheimer's and other disorders. Ampakines may also increase the amount of certain growth factors in the brain, which, in turn, may help treat the underlying causes of conditions like Alzheimer's disease.
"We believe our drugs can be disease modifying therapies in contrast to the currently available symptomatic treatments," says Dr. Roger Stoll, the CEO of Cortex Pharmaceuticals.
Cortex Pharmaceuticals also recently announced that it began enrollment in the second and third AMPAKINE(R) CX717 Phase IIa studies: one in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and the other in mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Alzheimer's disease is a gradually progressive brain disorder that causes memory loss, cognitive dysfunction, behavioral disturbances, and loss of the ability to take care of daily activities. Though the disease progresses at different rates in different people, in its severe stages most sufferers require total care for their needs.
Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of adult-onset dementia. It currently affects one in 10 individuals over 65 and nearly half of those over 85. The disorder is one of the single greatest threats to the health of 77 million baby boomers and is also one of their greatest fears of aging. In the US alone, the cost of caring for individuals with Alzheimer's disease is estimated to be $100 billion annually.