September 1, 2015 9:52 — 0 Comments

New Cancer Drugs May Cause Memory Loss in Mice

Results from a recent study regarding a new class of cancer drugs were found to cause memory loss in mice. The findings, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, tested BET inhibitors, and could lead to safer drug therapies that reduce the risk of potential side effects, such as memory loss. During the study, researchers used a compound that was designed to thwart the activity of a specific BET protein, called Brd4. They used the original version of the drug, called Jq1, which they knew could cross the blood-brain barrier. The researchers added the drug to mouse neurons grown in the lab, then stimulated the cells in a way that mimicked the process of memory formation. Normally, when neurons receive this type of signal, they begin transcribing genes into proteins, resulting in the formation of new memories — a process that is partly regulated by Brd4. “To turn a recent experience into a long-term memory, you need to have gene transcription in response to these extracellular signals,” said the lead research of the study. To test how Jq1 affected mice’s memories, researchers placed the animals in a box with two objects they’ve never seen before. After a few minutes, the researchers took the mice out of the box. One day later, they put them back in, this time with one of the objects from the day before and another, unfamiliar one. Mice that received the placebo drug were much more interested in the new object, presumably because the one from the day before was familiar. But mice treated with Jq1 were equally interested in both objects, suggesting they didn’t remember the previous day’s experience. To read more about this study, click here.

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