Navigation Links
Researcher tests promising drug on those with Down syndrome
Date:8/2/2011

AURORA, Colo. (Aug. 1, 2011) A University of Colorado School of Medicine scientist is completing a major clinical trial on a drug that could boost cognitive function in those with Down syndrome, significantly improving their quality of life and representing a potential milestone in research on this genetic condition.

"We are hoping to enhance memory and learning in those with Down syndrome," said Alberto Costa, MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine and the neuroscientist leading the effort. "We have been studying this drug for three years and are now ready to analyze the data on our trial. Our team at the University of Colorado and Children's Hospital Colorado expects to have the results in the next two or three months."

Costa, whose work was chronicled in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, is testing the drug memantine, currently used to relieve symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, in 39 people with Down syndrome. About half received the drug and the others a placebo. In 2007, Costa demonstrated that memantine could improve memory function in mice with Down syndrome.

And now, for the first time, he is taking a drug effective in the treatment of learning and memory deficits in mice with Down syndrome and applying it to humans, a move described by the New York Times as "a milestone in the history of Down syndrome research."

Costa is no disinterested researcher. His 16-year-old daughter Tyche named for the Greek goddess of Fortune - has Down syndrome. Like others with the condition, she faces the specter of a steady decline in mental functioning as she gets older and a roughly 20 percent chance of getting Alzheimer's in her 50's. After that diagnosis, death is often just five years away.

"I feel I am racing the clock to find something that will at least keep her functioning at the level she is at now," Costa said. "As they age, parts of their brain will shrink and their functions will diminish."

Costa is actively pursuing links between Down and Alzheimer's disease. He says babies born with Down often carry the biological markers for Alzheimer's.

"They have the disease from the get go," he said.

Costa says the world is awash in false assumptions about Down syndrome ranging from distortions on life expectancy to educational limitations. In fact, depending on the severity of their condition, those with Down can live into their 70s, attend college, live independently and hold down jobs.

"If we are successful, it will increase hope and expectations for those with Down syndrome," Costa said. "Right now there are drugs for the signs and symptoms of medical conditions more frequent in those with Down syndrome, but nothing to improve brain function. In fact, the prevailing wisdom has been that there is essentially nothing you can do to boost memory and learning in this group. Hopefully, we can prove them wrong."

But he and other Down researchers face an overall lack of federal funding, especially when compared to other diseases and disorders.

Costa has been supported by Forest Pharmaceuticals which is funding the clinical trial, the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities and the National Institute of Child Health and Development, part of the National Institutes of Health.

"Clearly these funding sources are the unsung heroes," Costa said. "They may not get the attention or publicity but I can assure you that our efforts and the future of those with Down syndrome would be seriously compromised without their continued generosity."


'/>"/>

Contact: David Kelly
david.kelly@ucdenver.edu
303-315-6374
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. U of M researchers use improved imaging technique; discover a better approach to diagnosing epilepsy
2. RUB researchers decipher the molecular basis of blue-green algae
3. Researchers discover the mechanism that determines cell position in the intestinal epithelium
4. Caltech researchers increase the potency of HIV-battling proteins
5. Researchers tap yeasts as source of green surfactants
6. Lawson researchers take control of cancer
7. U researchers look to dogs to better understand intricacies of bone cancer
8. Penn researchers help graft olfactory receptors onto nanotubes
9. U of M researchers may have discovered key to help women fight infections during pregnancy
10. Behavior 2011 to draw global contingent of more than 1,100 animal researchers to IU next week
11. U of M researchers discover gene required to maintain male sex throughout life
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/24/2017)... 24, 2017 Janice Kephart , ... Identity Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) , today issues ... President Trump,s March 6, 2017 Executive Order: ... vetting can be instilled with greater confidence, enabling ... all refugee applications are suspended by until at ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... , April 13, 2017 According to a new ... Authentication, Identity Analytics, Identity Administration, and Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, ... IAM Market is expected to grow from USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 ... (CAGR) of 17.3%. ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... -- Forecasts by Product Type (EAC), Biometrics, ... (Transportation & Logistics, Government & Public Sector, Utilities / ... Facility, Nuclear Power), Industrial, Retail, Business Organisation (BFSI), Hospitality ... looking for a definitive report on the $27.9bn Access ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... AMRI, ... and biotechnology industries to improve patient outcomes and quality of life, will now ... testing are being attributed to new regulatory requirements for all new drug products, ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... in its endogenous context, enabling overexpression experiments and avoiding the use of exogenous ... RNA guides is transformative for performing systematic gain-of-function studies. , This complement ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Md. (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... digital pathology, announced today it will be hosting a Webinar titled, “Pathology is ... Advanced Pathology Associates , on digital pathology adoption best practices and how Proscia ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Disappearing forests and increased emissions are ... 5.5 million people each year. Especially those living in larger cities are affected by ... in one of the most pollution-affected countries globally - decided to take action. , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: