Navigation Links
Study Details New Molecular Approach to Preventing Alzheimer's

The concept calls for targeting an enzyme within brain cells

THURSDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- German researchers are reporting a new approach to the possible prevention of the molecular "debris" that's associated with the development of Alzheimer's disease.

The basic idea -- to block the activity of an enzyme called beta-secretase -- is not new, said study lead author Dr. Kai Simons, a professor of cell biology at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden.

A number of laboratories, both academic and commercial, are working on methods to prevent the enzyme from slicing a protein into beta amyloid fragments that form the brain plaques found in people with the disease. All work on the same principle. "If we decrease the amount of cleavage, we could in all likelihood reduce the likelihood of the disease," Simons said.

Most experts now agree that formation of the beta amyloid plaques is directly linked to the development of Alzheimer's. The problem with most proposed methods of blocking beta-secretase, Simons said, is that they are designed to work outside of the affected brain cells.

"This process of cleaving takes place inside cells," he said. "We have constructed an inhibitor which binds outside, on the cell membrane, and goes into the cell where the cleavage occurs."

Reporting in the April 25 issue of the journal Science, Simons and his colleagues described both test-tube experiments and animal studies in which the combination of an anchoring molecule and a beta-secretase inhibitor reduced the formation of beta amyloid plaque by more than 50 percent over four hours, while the inhibitor alone was ineffective.

The success is just one small step toward a medically useful preventive therapy for Alzheimer's disease, Simons acknowledged. For one thing, the treatment was given by injection into the brains of the experimental animals (fruit flies and mice), something not likely to be done with people.

"This is proof of principle," Simons said. "The idea would be to get it into the blood in humans and then over the blood-brain barrier into the brain. There are many ways for molecules to get into the brain."

The blood-brain barrier is a network of tightly packed cells that prevents most molecules from entering the brain.

William J. Netzer, an Alzheimer's researcher at the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research Foundation at Rockefeller University in New York City, called the new study "a profoundly interesting line of research."

"It is not implausible that one might improve the effectiveness of a drug by coaxing it to go into a region where the enzymes it blocks exist," Netzer said.

But medical use of such a product can raise questions, he said. "When you put an inhibitor into a living being, the chemical you put in can be modified in the body. Where a compound goes into a cell is a complicated issue when you put it into a human being," he added.

Dr. James Galvin, associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, called the German research "a novel idea."

If the concept works, it would solve a puzzle about how to best target the enzyme, Galvin said. And it is a concept with broader medical possibilities, he said.

"You can potentially inhibit other enzymes where cleavage occurs within membranes," he said.

More information

Learn more about Alzheimer's disease from the U.S. Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Kai Simons, M.D., Ph.D., professor of cell biology, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany; William J. Netzer, Ph.D., research associate, Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research Foundation, Rockefeller University, New York City; James Galvin, M.D., associate professor of neurology and psychiatry, Washington University, St. Louis; April 25, 2008, Science

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. NSF awards $1.5M for study of in-home health care via wireless networks
2. Study shows positive findings in treating patients with advanced hepatitis C
3. Study finds racial disparities in smoking cessation treatment
4. Antipodean Pharmaceuticals Announces Results of Phase 2 Study of Lead Compound MitoQ(R)
5. Harvard Business School Publishes a Case Study on Robert Wessman and Actavis
6. Study finds that competency in colonoscopy requires experience with 150 cases or more
7. Study finds cisplatin less effective than standard treatment for patients with anal cancer
8. Potential viral therapy weapon for difficult cancers is safe and effective in study
9. Study: Counseling trauma victims causes secondary trauma
10. Rat study suggests why teens get hooked on cocaine more easily than adults
11. Study Shows Increased Out-of-Pocket Expenses May Negatively Influence Initiation of TNF Blocker Therapy
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... Juan, Puerto Rico (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... an active part of the San Juan Beauty Show held on November 8th and ... event was attended by media personalities, hair artists, renowned beauticians and top of the ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... their strategic partnership at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2015 ... global providers of cutting-edge dictation and speech-enabled documentation software, announced their partnership ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... announces the Unstoppable Swappables, a household invention that provides an economical and easy ... a year and is growing at 2.6%," says Scott Cooper, CEO and Creative ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... Clarkston, Metamora, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... ... ... Excellence is once again accredited by the American Institute of Ultrasound in ... that allows practices to demonstrate that they meet or exceed nationally recognized ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Khanna Vision Institute based in Los Angeles, announced that Dr. ... 2015. Peer Certification by the Board is done so the public knows that the ... obtained after the completion of three years of training or Residency in Ophthalmology. This ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/29/2015)... , Nov. 29, 2015   Royal Philips  ... driven radiology solutions at the 2015 Radiological Society of ... 4 at McCormick Place in Chicago ... will experience the company,s broad portfolio of integrated Diagnostic ... solutions to increase clinical performance, improve workflow and create ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... 29, 2015   National Decision Support Company (NDSC) ... base, including notable statewide implementations. As a result, ... ACR Select, more than 1 million times per ... ACR Select provides real-time feedback on the most ... has been implemented at over 100 healthcare systems ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Nov. 27, 2015  Lannett Company, Inc. (NYSE: ... completed the acquisition of Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals Inc. ... global biopharmaceuticals company UCB S.A. (Euronext: UCB). ... has acquired KU from UCB for total consideration ... including a customary working capital adjustment, a deduction ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: