Sodium selenate slows the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia — the second most common form of dementia in people under the age of 60

A study led by Monash University has found a promising new treatment for patients with frontotemporal behavioral variant dementia, the second most common form of dementia in people under the age of 60, that results in stabilization of what would normally involve an escalation of behavior problems and a slowing of progression brain would represent . shrinkage due to illness. This is the second clinical study showing that the drug sodium selenate can slow the cognitive decline and neurodegenerative damage characteristic of many dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is a rapidly progressive, destructive disease and can occur in people as young as 35 years of age. It is characterized by behavioral disorders and personality changes and can be very disruptive and distressing for patients and their families. There is currently no treatment or cure for bvFTD and the typical survival time is 5-7 years after diagnosis.

The Phase 1 study, conducted in collaboration with the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the only one in Australia targeting non-genetic bvFTD and one of a few worldwide, has shown that the drug sodium selenate is safe and well tolerated in patients with bvFTD for a period of 12 months. Importantly, the majority of patients receiving sodium selenate showed no change in their cognitive or behavioral symptoms and a reduced rate of brain atrophy during the trial period. The results of Dr. Lucy Vivash, from Monash University’s Department of Neuroscience, has just been published in the journal. Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Translational Research and Clinical Interventions.

In almost half of bvFTD cases, the damage to neurons in the brain is caused by the production of a protein called tau. This protein is an important target for research into the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias to reverse the neurodegeneration caused by this accumulation of tau.

according to dr Vivash upregulates sodium selenate, an enzyme in the brain that effectively breaks down tau protein. “We have already shown in a phase 2 study that sodium selenate given to patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease leads to less neurodegeneration than in patients without,” he said. Importantly, patients in the study with higher levels of selenium, a breakdown product of sodium selenate, in their bloodstream showed less cognitive decline.

The research group is currently conducting a larger study in many hospitals in Australia and New Zealand to further test whether this drug is beneficial for patients with bvFTD.

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Materials provided by Monash University. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.

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