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Modulating a protein in the brain could help control Alzheimer's disease
Date:11/18/2010

he brain by up to half.

"It has been known for years that the 5-lipoxygenase is an important protein in other areas of the body, such as the lung, but nobody really cared about its role in the brain," he said. "Based on some previously know information, we questioned whether this enzyme was a primary or secondary player in the development of Alzheimer's. What we found was a new primary role for an old enzyme."

Pratic said that the key in the process was 5-lipoxygenase's direct control over the gamma secretase, the only source of amyloid beta in the brain. "If you can modulate this enzyme easily, then you can control the amount of total amyloid beta that is produced by the gamma secretase in the brain, thus controlling the amount of Alzheimer's disease."

Pratic said that armed with new information, new therapies could be developed to block the increase of 5-lipoxygenase levels in the aging brain, which would in turn prevent the formation of amyloid beta.

He said that there are several FDA-approved 5-lipoxygenase inhibitors currently being used for the treatment of asthma, and that the Temple researchers tested some of these inhibitors in the lab against the production of amyloid beat with initial positive results.

"These drugs are already on the market, they're inexpensive and, most importantly, they are already FDA-approved, so you wouldn't need to go through an intense drug discovery process," said Pratic. "So you could quickly begin a clinical trial to determine if there is a new application for an old drug against a disease where there is currently nothing."


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Contact: Preston M. Moretz
pmoretz@temple.edu
215-204-4380
Temple University
Source:Eurekalert

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