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Soy Chemical May Provide An Effective Treatment For Fatal Childhood Disease

December 1, 2010: 06:12 PM EST

An international team of scientists working with mouse models of the fatal childhood disease known as Sanfilippo have discovered that the chemical genistein, found naturally in soybeans, may provide an effective treatment. Sanfilippo is an untreatable mucopolysaccharide (MPS) disease that affects one in 89,000 children in the U.K. Children with the disease experience progressive deterioration of mental function, similar to dementia, in early childhood, along with other symptoms. Death usually occurs in the early teen years. In the study, Sanfilippo mice were fed genistein for nine months. Currently licensed in the U.S. as an osteoporosis drug, genistein had a major impact on the Sanfilippo mice. Mental decline slowed significantly, the scientists reported. A placebo controlled clinical trial for patients with Sanfilippo disease is the hoped-for next major step.

Marcelina Malinowska, et al. , "Genistein Improves Neuropathology and Corrects Behaviour in a Mouse Model of Neurodegenerative Metabolic Disease", PlosONE, December 01, 2010, © The authors
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