Aug 10, 2012
By Jane Brown
Desperate to stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks, some caregivers are clamouring for a cancer drug shown to reverse the disease in mice.
But experts argue prescribing the drug, while legal, is unethical.
An editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine says even if patients and families are willing to take the risks for the potential benefit, the physician’s answer should be no.
The editorial was prompted by a recent study published in the journal Science that found the drug, bexarotene, relieved Alzheimer-like symptoms in three mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease.
The drug has yet to be tested in human patients.
But because it’s approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a form of skin cancer, doctors can choose to prescribe it off-label. (ABC News)