Could drugs used after an organ transplant protect against Alzheimer’s?

Left to Right: Nancy Stallings, Ege Kavalali, Jie Hu, James Malter, Ilya Bezprozvanny, Melissa O’Neal

DALLAS – March 20, 2018 – A UT Southwestern study in mice provides new clues about how a class of anti-rejection drugs used after organ transplants may also slow the progression of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s, a progressive form of dementia, affects an estimated 5 million people in the U.S. – a number expected to nearly triple by 2050. Although Alzheimer’s usually strikes after age 65, changes in the brain can begin years before symptoms appear, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The researchers studied how the connections between neurons – synapses – are lost early in the course of the disease. This loss likely causes the behavioral and memory changes that occur as the disease develops, said Dr. James Malter, Chairman of Pathology and corresponding author of the Science Signaling study. The study’s first authors are Drs. Nancy Stallings and Melissa O’Neal, both Instructors of Pathology.

See the full News Release.