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Dec 29, 2015 10:23 PM EST

Stem cells help testing of experimental Alzheimer's drugs

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Researchers are now using stem cells to create a model of Alzheimer's disease outside the human body, Fox News reports.   

This technique will enable more efficient testing of experimental drugs for Alzheimer's disease in the lab rather than in clinical trials with people.

Scientists at the University of Caliornia, San Diego, Harvard University and a number of other institutions along with a number of biotech and pharmaceutical companies, are developing better ways to study the disease outside of the human body and without using animals.

Animal testing doesn't often produce results that can be applied very well to people with Alzheimer's. The clinical trials of drugs in humans are costly and time consuming.

Scientists at University of California, San Diego used stem cells to create neurons with characteristics of Alzheimer's. Then they tested two experimental drugs on the neurons and discovered that for certain patients with a particular genetic mutation, the dosage of the drugs received in the clinical trial was ineffective.

Shauna Yuan, a professor in the department of neurosciences at UCSD and lead researcher in the project said that this "in vitro" testing of Alzheimer's drugs on human cells could help researchers identify compounds that are ineffective and also identify the accurate doses of medicine to be given to people in trials.

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