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Novel protein fragments may protect against Alzheimer's
Date:5/13/2014

The devastating loss of memory and consciousness in Alzheimer's disease is caused by plaque accumulations and tangles in neurons, which kill brain cells. Alzheimer's research has centered on trying to understand the pathology as well as the potential protective or regenerative properties of brain cells as an avenue for treating the widespread disease.

Now Prof. Illana Gozes, the incumbent of the Lily and Avraham Gildor Chair for the Investigation of Growth Factors and director of the Adams Super Center for Brain Studies at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and a member of Tel Aviv University's Sagol School of Neuroscience, has discovered novel protein fragments that have proven protective properties for cognitive functioning.

In a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Prof. Gozes examined the protective effects of two newly discovered protein fragments in mice afflicted with Alzheimer's disease-like symptoms. Her findings have the potential to serve as a pipeline for new drug candidates to treat the disease.

NAP time for Alzheimer's

"Several years ago we discovered that NAP, a snippet of a protein essential for brain formation, which later showed efficacy in Phase 2 clinical trials in mild cognitive impairment patients, a precursor to Alzheimer's," said Prof. Gozes. "Now, we're investigating whether there are other novel NAP-like sequences in other proteins. This is the question that led us to our discovery."

Prof. Gozes' research focused on the microtubule network, a crucial part of cells in our bodies. Microtubules act as a transportation system within nerve cells, carrying essential proteins and enabling cell-to-cell communications. But in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, ALS, and Parkinson's, this network breaks down, hindering motor abilities and cognitive function.

"NAP operates through the stabilization of microtubules tubes within the cell which maintain cel
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

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