Scientists from Russia have calculated the optimal path for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

© Fotolia / SSilver Neurons in the human brainScientists from Russia have calculated the optimal path for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease© Fotolia / SSilver

. Biomathematics from the Institute of systems biology in Moscow and their foreign colleagues have developed an optimal strategy against Alzheimer’s disease, calculating an ideal start time and minimum duration of treatment, and published it in the journal CPT: Pharmacometrics & Systems Pharmacology.

«We are not making loud statements that understood the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. We showed that our model helps to quickly and accurately evaluate hypotheses. The main question we wanted to answer: how to help the patient? We were able to determine the optimal treatment regimen, but whether it will improve the patient’s life — is not clear. It requires a real clinical trials» — says Tatiana Karelina from the Institute for systems biology in Moscow.

And Alzeihmer disease, and Parkinson’s disease are caused by the accumulation in nerve cells of various protein «garbage», which gradually kill neurons in different parts of the brain. Their death leads to memory loss and dementia in the first case and to the loss of control over limbs in the second.

Scientists do not yet understand the mechanisms that make brain cells accumulate Tau protein, plaques of beta-amyloid, tangles alpha synuclein, and other potential causes for the development of these diseases. Therefore, biologists are not only unable to create a cure for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, but also to understand the reasons why they develop.

The Russian scientists propose to solve this problem mathematically without resorting to long and expensive experiments. Mathematics from the Institute of systems biology recently took the first step in this direction by creating a computer model of formation of plaques of beta-amyloid.

It can greatly accelerate the search for a cure of Alzheimer’s disease, as these calculations allow to predict the effectiveness of various substances on the accumulation of protein without conducting real experiments in the laboratory.

This model has helped scientists to discover the reasons why some promising drugs for Alzheimer’s disease failed in clinical trials, however, it is not described how the disease develops.

Health formula

Russian scientists and their foreign colleagues have solved this problem – they analyzed the results of several dozen clinical trials on how to grow amyloid plaques in the brain of humans and animals, and «translated» them insights into the language of mathematics understandable to the computer.

The fruit of all these efforts was the set of equations with 30 variables, which Karelina and her colleagues were able to identify several key factors in the development of the disease and to understand how and how long it should be treated.

In particular, it was found that a primary cause of Alzheimer’s is that brain cells lose their ability to decompose insoluble clusters of beta-amyloid, which leads to the formation of plaques, and massive neuronal death.

Further calculations showed that all existing and future drugs that destroy platelet beta-amyloid can have a major effect on the brain of the patient only if the treatment is initiated as early as possible, not later than 60 years old, and it should last at least a year.

Now Russian mathematics prepare your model for presentation at the American conference on pharmacometrics – the most important annual event for developers of new drugs. Scientists hope not only to discuss their results with the community, but also to find new partners for further work.