First drug to help Down syndrome people now being tested

The first drug to help people with Down syndrome overcome cognitive deficits is being tested on humans, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche has announced.

Roche has set up a clinical trial with 33 adults to see whether a drug called RG1662 can reverse the effects of a neurotransmitter called GABA which inhibits brain activity. This seems to be the mechanism which is responsible for the memory and learning problems in people with Down's.

This small trial is testing the safety of the drug, but researchers are also examining how it affects the patients’ motor skills, reaction time and memory. The drug has already had good results in mice, according to a paper in the Journal of Neuroscience.

“Our drug research in Down syndrome may offer a novel therapeutic avenue to treat the cognitive deficits in people with Down syndrome, enhance their communications skills and ultimately help them have greater independence in their daily lives,” said Luca Santarelli, of Roche.

Down syndrome affects around one in 650 to 1,000 live births. Worldwide some 30,000 babies are born with Down syndrome each year. People with Down syndrome have a wide range of abilities but the majority have cognitive deficits which can lead to challenges with independence in their daily activities, education and employment. At present, there are no treatment options that address the cognitive impairments associated with Down syndrome.

This article is published by Michael Cook and BioEdge.org under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

comments powered by Disqus

 Search BioEdge

 Subscribe to BioEdge newsletter
rss Subscribe to BioEdge RSS feed

 Recent Posts
The US should brace itself for a “national wave of fertility fraud”
19 Sep 2020
“To boldly go where no man has gone before!” – forging space bioethics
19 Sep 2020
Should India repeal its ban on sex selection?
19 Sep 2020
Whistle-blower claims that detainees in US facility were sterilised without consent
19 Sep 2020
Assisted dying activists sue to force UK doctors to change policy
19 Sep 2020

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | rss RSS | Archive | Bookmark and Share | michael@bioedge.org

BioEdge - New Media Foundation Ltd © 2004 - 2019