Researchers discover drug that restores memory lost to Alzheimer's

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A drug that researchers are testing to treat rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis may someday help Alzheimer's patients. KPCC's Susan Valot says UC Irvine researchers made the link as they studied the drug in mice.

The researchers found that the drug known as PMX205 seems to rescue the memory of mice with symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Inflammation around Alzheimer's lesions in the brain speeds up neuron damage. That's what makes the brain-robbing disease get worse.

UC Irvine scientists found that the drug prevented the inflammation of immune cells around those brain lesions. Mice with Alzheimer's symptoms that got the drug performed much better on memory tests than those that weren't treated.

Scientists think the drug might work even better if it's combined with other treatments. They haven’t yet tested the drug in humans who have Alzheimer's.

About 5 million Americans suffer from the disease. The UC Irvine study appears in the Journal of Immunology.