Common Acne Treatment Stops Blindness in Animal Model

Administering Accutane, a drug commonly used to treat acne, UCLA researchers have successfully stopped the accumulation of toxic pigments in the eyes of animals with a genetic defect similar to Stargardt’s macular degeneration. The UCLA team gave a daily injection of Accutane to mimic the effect of constant light deprivation and the results proved dramatic. These toxic pigments, called lipofuscin, are responsible for the visual loss in patients with Stargardt’s disease.

Pain killers may dissolve Alzheimer's disease plaques

In a breakthrough study, scientists have found that common painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen may actually dissolve the brain lesions — or amyloid plaques — that are one of the definitive hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. The findings are reported in the March 31 issue of Neuroscience. Principal investigator Jorge R. Barrio, professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has used FDDNP, a new chemical marker developed in his laboratory at UCLA, to visually zero in on the brain lesions present in Alzheimer’s disease. He discovered that common over-the-counter pain medications — known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — bind to amyloid plaques, and may help dissolve existing plaques and prevent the formation of new ones.

Exercise and Dietary Changes Can Kill Prostate Cancer Cells

UCLA scientists report that 11 days of daily exercise and the Pritikin low-fat, high-fiber diet induce prostate cancer cells to die. The research, published in the new issue of the journal Cancer Causes and Control, is the first to show that diet and exercise can kill prostate cancer cells. “You can make changes in a short period of time that have a dramatic impact on your health ? in this case, on the growth and death of prostate tumor cells,” said R. James Barnard, professor of physiological science at UCLA and lead investigator on the study.