West Michigan-developed diabetes drug to be studied as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease

Metabolic Solutions Development Co. (MSDC) has received a $100,000 grant from the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation to study the effectiveness of MSDC's proprietary diabetes compound MSDC-0160 in treating Alzheimer's disease. The grant will fund collaboration between Dr. Douglas Feinstein of the University of Illinois – Chicago, the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center and MSDC.

MSDC, which is based in Kalamazoo with a satellite office in Grand Rapids, is developing MSDC-0160 as an alternative diabetes treatment to Actos and Avandia.

Dr. Feinstein says his research indicates that "some insulin sensitizers, including MSDC's lead compound MSDC-0160, might slow down the buildup of plaques in the brains of mice." The amyloid plaques in the mice are similar to the plaques in Alzheimer's patients, the cause Alzheimer's disease.

"There's been particular work with Avandia and have been suggestions in animal models that it reduced the development of Alzheimer's disease," says Robert Beardsley, MSDC CEO. "The problem is the side effects: weight gain, fluid retention and a significant risk of congestive heart failure. And Avandia doesn't penetrate the brain very well."

MSDC-0160 does not produce those side effects and it penetrates into the brain more effectively than Avandia, says Beardsley. Furthermore, initial findings, presented at the 10th Annual International Conference on Alzheimer's Drug Discovery, showed that MSDC-0160 reduced the number and size of the amyloid plaques in mice.

Dr. Feinstein is conducting the research which will include testing to determine if MSDC-0160 also reverses cognitive damage already done by the plaque.

"The $100,000 will fund more definitive animal work in the mouse models so scientists can determine how MSDC-0160 stacks up against other treatments," Beardsley says. "MSDC supplies our compound and our expertise, but we're not spending money on this; we're staying focused on type 2 diabetes and metabolic diseases."

Source: Robert Beardsley, Ph.D, Metabolic Solutions Development Co.; Nick Wasmiller, Seyferth & Associates

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Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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