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:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... As a former television executive, ... demanding job, and no time to decompress, Rabinowitz found herself drawn to a casual ... for its impact on her life, implementing a 20-minute-per-day meditation practice with her team. ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on April 5-7. The series is a ... create new habits. The workshops cover a broad range of topics, including coaching ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... Vegas, NV (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... North Las Vegas Mayor John J. Lee, Nevada Military Support Alliance president Scott Bensing, ... Fisher House at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System. This will be the ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... ... Vail knee specialist Robert LaPrade, MD, PhD was named one of ... of physicians establishing, leading and partnering with ambulatory surgery centers across the United States. ... also known as an ASC, is a modern health care facility focused on providing ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... , ... Donor Network West, the organ procurement organization that heals lives through ... Ramon Regional Medical Center. Under the collaboration, the first of its kind, specific organ ... more certain time frame for donor families for the recovery of organs. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... 12, 2016  Sequent Medical, Inc. announced today that ... evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the WEB™ Aneurysm ... intracranial aneurysms.  Prof Laurent Spelle , MD, Head ... Paris, France and Principal Investigator of the ... France and Germany.  Although patients with ruptured ...
(Date:2/12/2016)...  Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY ) today ... disodium) vitamin regimen patent would not presently be infringed by ... , Italy and ... with dextrose solution.  --> ... Appeal held that Lilly,s patent would be indirectly infringed by ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... Carolina , 12 februari 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... (AAI/CML), een toonaangevende leverancier van productie en ... biotechnologische industrieën, kondigt vandaag een uitbreiding aan ... op haar locatie in Charleston, ... heeft geleid tot meerdere recente investeringen. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: