There was a good story a few week’s back that features our Executive Director, Michael Mullan. Here are the key quotes:
Because people with Down’s syndrome have an extra copy of that chromosome, they produce more of the protein. A part of that protein, beta-amyloid, builds up as plaque on the brain.
“We may still get Alzheimer’s disease, but (the plaque) doesn’t start to accumulate until we’re 60, 70, 80,” said Dr. Mike Mullan, director of the Roskamp Institute Memory Center in Sarasota. “In Down’s syndrome, the plaque starts to accumulate when we’re 20, 30, 40, because there’s so much more of it being made.”
SF researchers are testing an Alzheimer’s skin patch that may have fewer side effects than a previously studied injectable medicine.
“We’re really now getting into a period where more and more drugs are going to come out on the market,” said Mullan. “I’ve counted at least 50 drugs in development that are about to be released into clinical trials. This is very good. This is very optimistic.”
Such drugs could also improve the overall brain functioning associated with Down’s syndrome – even for those who never develop Alzheimer’s. Stanford University research shows that the suspect gene may be generally destructive, not just in old age.
“That would make us think that perhaps in people with Down’s syndrome, we would want to try (Alzheimer’s) drugs very early in their lives,” Mullan said.