Researchers find dramatic side effect of a cancer drug. It sharpens brain memory and keeps brain cells alive.
New research at Rutgers University reveals an exciting side effect of a cancer drug. The RGFP966 drug showed when administered to rats that it made them more attuned to what they were hearing, able to retain and remember more information, as well as develop new connections that allowed these memories to be transmitted between brain cells.
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RGFP966 is among a class known as HDAC inhibitors – used in cancer therapies to stop the activation of genes that turn normal cells into cancerous ones. In the brain, the drug makes the neurons more plastic, better able to make connections and create positive changes that enhance memory. Researchers found that laboratory rats, taught to listen to a certain sound in order to receive a reward, and given the drug after training, remembered what they learned and responded correctly to the tone at a greater rate than those not given the drug.
“Memory-making in neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease is often poor or absent altogether once a person is in the advanced stages of the disease,” said Kasia M. Bieszczad, lead author and assistant professor in Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology. ”This drug could rescue the ability to make new memories that are rich in detail and content, even in the worst case scenarios.”
As this research is still in a the stage of animal testing, it will be a while until this can be used to enhance brain memory function.
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The results of the study have been published in the Journal Neuroscience.