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Alzheimer's disease (AD)

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)

Drosophila and mouse studies suggest EGFR inhibitors could help treat AD. In transgenic flies expressing human b-amyloid 42, the EGFR inhibitors Iressa and Tarceva prevented memory loss as effectively as the approved AD drug memantine. In a transgenic mouse model of AD, Iressa decreased memory loss compared with vehicle. In both a mouse and fly behavioral screen of 2,000 synthetic compounds that modulate protein kinase activities,
3 compounds prevented memory loss and inhibited b-amyloid 42-
mediated Egfr activity. Next steps include identifying more compounds for preclinical screening.
Astellas Pharma Inc., Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and Roche market Tarceva erlotinib to treat pancreatic cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
AstraZeneca plc's Iressa is in Phase III testing to treat head and neck cancer.

SciBX 5(40); doi:10.1038/scibx.2012.1058
Published online Oct. 11, 2012

Patent application filed; available for licensing

Wang, L. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; published online Sept. 27, 2012;
Contact: Yi Zhong, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.