While a number of drug companies have been pumping big bucks into creating novel molecules capable of inhibiting formation of Aβ fibrils, along comes Alan Snow and his colleagues at the University of Washington and his Seattle-based company, ProteoTech, Inc., with a commercially available "plant extract" that appears to do the trick (Abstract 1070). This substance can apparently dissolve pre-exisiting amyloid fibrils in an in vitro Thioflavin T fluorometry assay. Snow presented data that this compound can "dissolve" both AWhile a number of drug companies have been pumping big bucks into creating novel molecules capable of inhibiting formation of Aβ fibrils, along comes Alan Snow and his colleagues1-42 fibrils and islet amyloid fibrils.

Snow indicated that this substance was discovered by screening off-the-shelf health food supplements and finding one that yielded positive results in the Thioflavin assay. He also stated that this food supplement is readily available and produced by several different manufactures, although he declined to identify the compound. In response to the question about adsorption in the gut and whether this compound can cross the blood brain barrier, Snow said that those tests have not been run. He added that the extract is a low molecular weight lipophilic compound, so he has hopes that it will get into the brain.

Snow's company is currently negotiating with a major supplier of the extract to run a human clinical trial, although it might be more appropriate to first test the compound in a transgenic mouse. Snow said such tests have not yet been done, and he would be interested in such a study. Got mice? Give him a call. I'll hold off on buying stock until data shows that compound X can cross the blood-brain barrier in sufficient quantities to actually reduce AWhile a number of drug companies have been pumping big bucks into creating novel molecules capable of inhibiting formation of Aβ fibrils, along comes Alan Snow and his colleagues plaques in a transgenic animal.—Brian J. Cummings

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