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2010 Grants - Pike
NeuroSARMs in the Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease
Christian J. Pike, Ph.D.
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
2010 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
In aging males, levels of sex hormones such as testosterone decline, leading to reduced function in several tissues, including the brain. Indeed, recent research has found evidence that declines in testosterone and related male sex steroids (known collectively as androgens) increase a man's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Christian J. Pike, Ph.D., and colleagues are studying a class of drugs known as SARMs (selective androgen receptor modulators) and whether they can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease in aging men. Compared to natural androgens such as testosterone, SARMs are more promising for such research because natural androgens increase the risk of prostate cancer. Dr. Pike and colleagues are planning to study several SARMs in an attempt to identify one that is especially active in the brain but not other tissues (a neuron-specific SARM, or neuroSARM). The researchers will test different SARMs in cultured nerve cells to determine their ability to reduce the activity of biochemical pathways associated with Alzheimer pathology. Promising drug candidates will also be tested for their ability to preserve cognitive function in mice that express Alzheimer-like pathology, and for their lack of activity in tissues such as the prostate gland. These studies may help to identify a potential new drug for reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease in aging men.