Recent research to combat against Alzheimer’s disease focuses on amyloid beta, a sticky proteins that forms plaques in the brain causing damaging the nerve cells and affecting the regular neural functions.
Scientists have claimed that they have discovered a compound that may be able to stop the body from making amyloid-beta proteins in the first place. Which means the need of cure for Alzheimer’s will not be needed in the first place.
Amyloid-beta is produced in the brain by enzymes that divide a larger protein. Beta-amyloid comes from a larger protein found in the fatty membrane surrounding nerve cells.
In the hope they might be able to prevent the creation of amyloid beta by affecting dimerisation process, researchers led by Carmela Abraham, a professor of biochemistry and medicine at Boston University in the US, screened some 77,000 molecules and struck upon one that could be relevant – a kinase inhibitor, which blocks the activity of kinase enzymes.
“This was the big eureka moment,” said Abraham. “Once we knew what the molecule was doing, we could search to see what kinase it inhibits and better understand the mechanism.”
Currently what the researchers understand about this compound is that it has an effect on a larger cell-signalling complex in the brain, but further research will be needed to find the specific, similar molecule or molecules that can act directly on APP.
If successful, this new discovery could be the basis of a medicine that will stop Alzheimer’s right in its tracks.
“Alzheimer’s is now the number six killer of adults in the United States. Deaths from breast cancer and heart disease keep dropping, but Alzheimer’s increases every year,” said Abraham. “Caring for Alzheimer’s patients costs over US$200 billion per year. The estimate for 2050 is US$1.1 trillion, which means it will completely break the health care system. We have to find a drug.”
This research was presented at Neuroscience 2015.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s; Amyloid-beta; Neuroscience;