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Study raises experimental drug questions

DIMEBON, Medivation Inc's promising experimental Alzheimer's drug, significantly raised levels of a toxic protein in the brains of mice, yet has been shown to delay thinking problems in human dementia patients, United States researchers said yesterday.

"This is an unexpected result," said Dr Samuel Gandy, a researcher at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, whose findings were presented at an Alzheimer's meeting in Vienna.

The study raises new questions about how the drug works and new worries about drugs meant to remove telltale clumps of a protein called beta amyloid from the brain as a way to reverse Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers are not sure whether amyloid is a cause or a symptom of Alzheimer's but, either way, getting rid of it had appeared to be a good thing.

Dimebon, first sold in Russia as an antihistamine, is being developed jointly with Pfizer Inc.


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