Taking Advantage of Side Effects
mp3 | wav

sideeffects Anytime you pick up your prescription, you can find a list of the side effects. None you’d want to experience, but for scientists, they represent an array of possible new therapies to treat other diseases. This is the idea behind repurposing drugs.

One great example is a recent experiment that revealed low doses of a common antibiotic doxycycline could reduce neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s disease. That means it lowers the toxic effects of a protein that accumulates inside the brain.

In people with Parkinson’s, a class of cells called dopaminergic neurons die, causing people to shake and develop muscle stiffness. The discovery that doxycycline could protect these nerve cells was totally accidental.

Researchers studying mice with Parkinson’s Disease noticed the rodents weren’t displaying symptoms any longer. They realized after some research that the mice had just started receiving food containing low levels of doxycycline.

This led to a series of experiments. Using nerve cells in culture, they found that when low doses of doxycycline were included, the cells did not die. And even though the protein still accumulated and formed damaging fibers inside the nerve cells, there was an eighty percent decrease in the amount of these fibers. So, they didn’t do as much damage.

Also, doxycycline reduced the inflammatory conditions that kill nerve cells. There is also evidence that the antibiotic may influence the genes that directly play a role in Parkinson’s disease. While the specific mechanism of how this works is not yet well understood, the results may repurpose an existing drug into a valuable new treatment for millions of people.

For more information…

Repurposing doxycycline for synucleinopathies: remodelling of a-synuclein oligomers towards non-toxic parallel beta-sheet structured species.
Synucleinophaties are progressive neurodegenerative disorders with no cure to date. An attractive strategy to tackle this problem is repurposing already tested safe drugs against novel targets...

Antibiotic Doxycycline May Offer Hope As Parkinson’s Treatment
Lower doses of the common antibiotic Doxycycline reduces toxicity of alpha synuclein and may be used to help treat Parkinson’s disease, a new study reports...

In Accidental Discovery, Antibiotic Doxycycline Prevents Nerve Cell Damage in Mice with Parkinson’s
Brazilian researchers discovered by accident that the antibiotic doxycycline prevented nerve cell damage in mice with Parkinson’s disease, a finding that was so exciting that they and colleagues from other countries decided to delve further into the subject...