Anti-Alzheimer’s agents show promising results

A series of iron-binding agents to prevent Alzheimer’s disease has shown promising potential for getting into brain tissue.

The new compounds can bind to excess iron in the brain and might prevent it from participating in the formation of abnormal protein deposits that are typically seen in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Speaking at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s annual event in Manchester, the British Pharmaceutical Conference, Mr Sourav Roy from King’s College London described tests to find new iron-binding agents capable of crossing the blood–brain barrier – the walls of the tiny blood capillaries to the brain that control the flow of food and chemicals into brain cells.

Iron is known to accumulate in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease and has been linked to the development of abnormal protein deposits – or plaques – that cause nerve damage, leading to Alzheimer’s symptoms, such as memory loss [1]. By binding to the excess iron and taking it out of the brain into the bloodstream, it is hoped that the new iron-binding agents will play a part in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

‘To develop new anti-Alzheimer treatments, we need drugs that can cross the blood–brain barrier, and we have discovered four new agents that are better at getting into brain cells than an iron-binding drug that is currently used to treat conditions where there is too much iron in the bloodstream,’ explained Roy.

The four iron-binding agents will now be tested to see if they can protect nerve cells from the type of damage that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and affects approximately 417,000 people in the UK [2]. Symptoms include memory loss, confusion and mood swings. Current treatments might delay the progression of the disease but do not cure or prevent it.


1 Gaeta, A. and Hider, R.C. (2005) The crucial role of metal ions in neurodegeneration: the basis for a promising therapeutic strategy. Br. J. Pharmacol. 146, 1041–1059
2 Alzheimer’s Society. What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Share this article

More services


This article is featured in:



Dr. B.N Roy. said

19 September 2009
1)Whether the four molecules already exist or formulated?
2)Whether the four molecules will be equally effective on test animals and human beings?
3)How long may it take for such medicines for Alzheimer's patients to come to the market after trials?

Note: The majority of comments posted are created by members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those Elsevier Ltd. We are not responsible for any content posted by members of the public or content of any third party sites that are accessible through this site. Any links to third party websites from this website do not amount to any endorsement of that site by the Elsevier Ltd and any use of that site by you is at your own risk. For further information, please refer to our Terms & Conditions.

Comment on this article

You must be registered and logged in to leave a comment about this article.