Navigation Links
Alzheimer's discovery could bring early diagnosis, treatment closer
Date:5/22/2009

This release is available in French.

A discovery made by researchers at McGill University and the affiliated Lady Davis Research Institute for Medical Research at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital offers new hope for the early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

In a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry on May 15, Dr. Hemant Paudel, his PhD student Dong Han and postdoctoral fellows Hamid Qureshi and Yifan Lu, report that the addition of a single phosphate to an amino acid in a key brain protein is a principal cause of Alzheimer's. Identifying this phosphate, one of up to two-dozen such molecules, could make earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer's possible and might, in the longer term, lead to the development of drugs to block its onset.

The crucial protein, called a tau protein, is a normal part of the brain and central nervous system. But in Alzheimer's patients, tau proteins go out of control and form tangles that, along with senile plaques, are the primary cause of the degenerative disease.

Several years ago, it was discovered that tau proteins in normal brains contain only three to four attached phosphates, while abnormal tau in Alzheimer's patients have anywhere from 21 to 25 additional phosphates.

Paudel and his team have discovered that it is the addition of a single phosphate to the Ser202 amino acid within the tau brain protein that is the principal culprit responsible for Alzheimer's.

"The impact of this study is twofold," said Paudel, associate professor at McGill's Dept. of Neurology and Neurosurgery, and Project Director at the Bloomfield Centre for Research in Aging at the Lady Davis. "We can now do brain imaging at the earliest stages of the disease. We don't have to look for many different tau phosphates, just this single phosphate. The possibility of early diagnosis now exists.

"Second, the enzyme which puts this phosphate on the tau can be targeted by drugs, so therapies can be developed. This discovery gives us, for the first time, a clear direction towards the early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's."

Paudel and his students worked for years to exclude the phosphates not directly responsible for causing Alzheimer's symptoms. They finally succeeded by working with FTDP-17, a genetic disease with symptoms similar to Alzheimer's, but transmitted via mutations. By genetically manipulating these mutations, they were able to prove that the phosphate on Ser202 almost single-handedly is responsible for the tau abnormalities that cause both FTDP-17 and Alzheimer's.

The disease leads to severe mental degeneration and almost-inevitable death, and there is no known cure, nor even a reliable technique for early diagnosis. A patient is diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer's in the United States every 70 seconds, and deaths due to the disease have increased by a staggering 47 per cent since 2000. With the Baby Boomer population aging, those numbers are expected to explode even further in coming decades.

There are more than 5.3 million people with Alzheimer's in the United States, and more than 300,000 in Canada. Every one of those patients faces years of increasing mental incapacity followed by almost certain death, with no hope of treatment. The U.S. Alzheimer's Association has called the current situation a "crisis."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Shainblum
mark.shainblum@mcgill.ca
514-398-2189
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Alzheimers Research Target May Be a Dead End
2. Happy hour gene discovery suggests cancer drugs might treat alcoholism
3. New Discovery Shows Ancient Herb Fights Inflammation
4. Discovery in amber reveals ancient biology of termites
5. NIH multicenter AIDS cohort study commemorates 25 years of discovery
6. Cancer-obesity link discovery by MSU researchers could aid prevention efforts
7. WA discovery a key to blood cell development
8. Stanford researchers discovery of ion channel turns ear on its head
9. Chicagos Top Minds Join National Business and Health Leaders in Addressing Medical Innovation, Highlighting Policies Needed to Maintain U.S. Competitiveness in Medical Science and Discovery
10. Discovery of variations in resistance to sulfadoxine across Africa
11. Gene fusion discovery may lead to improved prostate cancer test
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field”: the story of a ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field” is the creation of published ... all ages and currently teaches a class of ladies at her church, which she ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... First Healthcare Compliance (FHC), ... will showcase a range of technology and learning solutions at the 68th Annual ... Expo to be held October 14–18, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... New Orleans, LA (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... fitness centers in the U.S., announced today its plans to open a flagship location ... club will occupy the former Rooms To Go store next to Office Depot in ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... PALM CITY, Fla. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... of cold therapy products, announced today the introduction of an innovative new design of ... the multipurpose pad so you get maximum comfort while controlling your pain while using ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Asante, a ... health care, have expanded their existing home health joint venture through an agreement, ... been operating a joint venture home health company with Asante, delivering clinically integrated ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/23/2017)... Sept. 22, 2017 Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen) ... letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ... sirukumab for the treatment of moderately to severely active ... clinical data are needed to further evaluate the safety ... active RA. ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... Sept. 19, 2017   ZirMed Inc ., a recognized ... announced that it has been ranked #1 by its users ... Rankings 2017 User Survey. ZirMed was recognized as the ... hospitals and medical centers over 200 beds and holds one ... technology user survey history. ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... and NEW YORK , Sept. 12, 2017   ... for global supply chains, has published the first annual edition of its ... of more than 20,400 companies evaluated by EcoVadis, based on Scorecard Ratings ... 2016. ... CSR Risk & Performance Index ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: