Cancer Drugs May Hold Key to Treating Down Syndrome and Other Brain Disorders

[Source: Science Daily]

A class of FDA-approved cancer drugs may be able to prevent problems with brain cell development associated with disorders including Down syndrome and Fragile X syndrome, researchers at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute have found.

The researchers’ proof-of-concept study using fruit fly models of brain dysfunction was published today in the journal eLife. They show that giving the leukemia drugs nilotinib or bafetinib to fly larvae with the equivalent of Fragile X prevented the wild overgrowth of neuron endings associated with the disorder. Meanwhile, the drugs — both tyrosine-kinase inhibitors — did not adversely affect the development or neuronal growth in healthy flies.
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