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CU Anschutz researchers' Alzheimer's drug shows improved cognition for patients

A recent clinical trial found Leukine was also tolerated well by people with Alzheimers.

COLORADO, USA — An Alzheimer's drug has become the first to show improvement in cognition in a phase 2 clinical trial.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz (CU-Anschutz) have been developing the drug, called Leukine.

Hundreds of drugs have been tested for the disease, and so far, all have failed, according to the Alzheimer's Association. 

> Video above: Man shares impact COVID pandemic had on wife's Alzheimer's diagnosis.

Dr. Huntington Potter, director of the CU-Anschutz's Alzheimer's and Cognition Center, said he and his team have shown that Leukine is safe and potentially a powerful solution to a disease that affects some 6 million Americans, with a new diagnosis every 66 seconds.

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Potter said Leukine may have other applications beyond Alzheimer's disease; it's also being looked at as a treatment for Parkinson's Disease and for COVID-19.

"We published a theoretical paper last year and the clinical trials are ongoing now to test GM-CSF, or Leukine, in COVID-19 patients," Potter said. "The first one was released by Partner Therapeutics...just a month ago or so, and it looks promising."

Leukine could be fast-tracked by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for Alzheimer's once all the trials are completed successfully, Potter added. He pointed out that the drug has had its FDA stamp of approval for other uses in the U.S. for decades. For example, It's been used widely for years to help patients who need to boost their white blood cell counts to protect against illness and disease.

Potter said Leukine is so good at that job, that the government actually has a huge stockpile of it to help victims in the event of a nuclear accident in the U.S.

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