First Drugs Found to Fight Human Version of Mad Cow Disease

Friday, 05 Apr 2013 10:18 AM

By Nick Tate

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A pair of drugs — an antihistamine and immune system suppressant — has been found to combat the human form of Mad Cow Disease, offering patients the first potential treatments for the rare condition.
 
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute discovered both drugs, already approved for human use, offer great promise in treating rare and universally fatal disorders caused by pathogens known as prions, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
 
CJD and similar diseases are among the most rare and terrifying conditions, with disturbing symptoms that include dementia, personality shifts, hallucinations, and coordination problems.

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The new study, published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, determined the drugs tacrolimus and astemizole appear to target prions and could be used to treat CJD.

Tacrolimus is an immune suppressant widely used in organ transplantation.  Astemizole is an antihistamine.

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