Repositioning drugs for traumatic brain injury - N-acetyl cysteine and Phenserine

Barry J. Hoffer, Chaim G. Pick, Michael E. Hoffer, Robert E. Becker, Yung Hsiao Chiang, Nigel H. Greig

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most common causes of morbidity and mortality of both young adults of less than 45 years of age and the elderly, and contributes to about 30% of all injury deaths in the United States of America. Whereas there has been a significant improvement in our understanding of the mechanism that underpin the primary and secondary stages of damage associated with a TBI incident, to date however, this knowledge has not translated into the development of effective new pharmacological TBI treatment strategies. Prior experimental and clinical studies of drugs working via a single mechanism only may have failed to address the full range of pathologies that lead to the neuronal loss and cognitive impairment evident in TBI and other disorders. The present review focuses on two drugs with the potential to benefit multiple pathways considered important in TBI. Notably, both agents have already been developed into human studies for other conditions, and thus have the potential to be rapidly repositioned as TBI therapies. The first is N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) that is currently used in over the counter medications for its anti-inflammatory properties. The second is (-)-phenserine ((-)-Phen) that was originally developed as an experimental Alzheimer's disease (AD) drug. We briefly review background information about TBI and subsequently review literature suggesting that NAC and (-)-Phen may be useful therapeutic approaches for TBI, for which there are no currently approved drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number71
JournalJournal of Biomedical Science
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 9 2017

Keywords

  • N-acetyl cysteine
  • Phenserine
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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