AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Patients suffering from seizures due to Alzheimer’s could soon get some relief with the help of a nasal spray.  

“Hopefully we all can contribute to the final cure for this disease,” said Dr. Qin Wang, a Neuropharmacologist at the Medical College of Georgia.

It’s not a cure but a breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research. Scientists at Medical College of Georgia developed a peptide delivered by nasal spray to reduce seizures common in early stage Alzheimer’s.

“Whenever the brain gets injured or gets an insult and you get either lack of oxygen or blood you get traumatic brain injury, the brain got hit, or you get a seizure attack, the brain will defend itself by releasing a lot of adenosine,” Dr. Wang told us.

This natural brain modulator released to protect the organ from excessive, damaging electrical activity of seizures can only do so much work.  Dr. Wang explained over time, seizures can still cause damage, contributing to cognitive decline seen in Alzheimer’s. So her research team identified a way to stop it by developing a peptide that inhibits a natural protein found in the brain that works to keep that natural modulator from over-reacting so electrical activity gets tamped down too much. It worked in both their animal model of Alzheimer’s and epilepsy.

“We validated this peptide in our animal models to show that indeed it can protect against seizures and also protect the spontaneous epileptic activities we see in Alzheimer models,” she said.

The Alzheimer’s organization reports that in about 30 years, more than 12 million people 65 and older will have Alzheimer’s, doubling from the amount of people now as baby boomers age.

“We see the hope, that’s just going to be a bigger motivation for us to get this to the human,” Dr. Wang said. “Alzheimer’s is a huge public health burden.”

Wang added the next step is obtaining an NIH grant to do additional studies to optimize the peptide for use in humans, which takes about 5 years.  From there, the goal is to be approved for human trials.

You can check out the full study as well.