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Quick, high-volume test offers fast track in search for Alzheimer's drugs
Date:11/15/2012

t, a Princeton professor of chemistry, said the findings demonstrate a quick and efficient screening method that could help in the search for a medicinal defense against Alzheimer's. Currently, he said, the disease's proliferation in an aging population has outpaced the success of efforts todevelop a treatment for it.

"As the population ages, Alzheimer's is the big disease," Hecht said. "There are drugs to control symptoms, but nothing to treat the disease itself. One approach could be to control peptide aggregation as we have done, but the compounds tested so far often fail.

"Our technique would allow scientists to create an artificial genetic system, examine it with a high-throughput screen and find whether it works," Hecht said. "From that they can fish out the best results and test them in other models."

Furthermore, an effective compound such as D737 can reveal information about Aβ42's structure that can be used to formulate other treatments, said lead author Angela Fortner McKoy, a postdoctoral researcher at Rutgers University who received her Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton in 2011. Fortner McKoy and Hecht worked with second author Jermont Chen, who earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton in 2008, andTrudi Schpbach, the Henry Fairfield Osborn Professor of Biology.

The Princeton researchers used a screening process developed in the Hecht lab to specifically identify Aβ42 aggregation. First reported in the journal ACS Chemical Biology in 2006, the technique hinges on a fusion of Aβ42 and green fluorescent protein which glows under ultraviolet light and is found in animals such as jellyfish that is expressed in the bacteria E. coli. The fluorescent protein does not glow when Aβ42 is able to aggregate. When a compound such as D737 inhibits peptide clumping, however, the E. coli bacterium appears bright green. The efficiency of the screening system stems from the relative simplicity of attaining andw
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Contact: Morgan Kelly
mgnkelly@princeton.edu
609-258-5729
Princeton University
Source:Eurekalert  

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