Researchers Say That If The Therapy Works As Well As It Does In Mice, We May Start Treating Alzheimer’s Effectively
Despite the record-breaking levels of funding spent on last-ditch attempts to prevent Alzheimer's, we all become as helpless as blind kittens the moment this diagnosis is made. But are we really as desperate as we're inclined to believe?
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Before we find out, let's gain an insight into the key genetics of this disease.
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The primary markers of Alzheimer's are the amyloid beta protein plaques, which start occurring as early as 20 years before the first symptoms of the disease start to show.
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Researchers believe that these plaques consist of protein pieces that come from coat neuron cells. If these fragments cut short the connection keeping them together, enzymes occurring naturally prevent them from forming a clump.
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Unfortunately, in the brains of people with Alzheimer's, this process cannot happen naturally.
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Several recent clinical experiments tried to target the plaques using antibodies and resulted in unsustainable side effects.
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However, a recent study carried out by Washington University tried to target a smaller protein segment contained within the plaques rather than the whole plaque. This protein segment is also referred to as APOE.
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The gimmick of the recent experiment is that they used the antibody that matches APOE, not the whole plaque. The goal was also one-of-a-kind, as the scientists established a search-and-destroy rather than a containment purpose.
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Though no one expected the results to be impressive, the behavior of one of the antibodies was remarkable.
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For as long as 6 weeks, the level of APOE proteins in the mice fell by 50% compared to prior-to-treatment phase. What's particularly good is that the antibody not only picked out the protein but also took the rest of the larger protein segments with it.
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Dr. Holtzman believes that if this therapy works in humans as well as it does in mice, it may finally provide the treatment we all have been searching for. It's the reason he says: "By removing plaques, if we start early enough we may be able to stop the changes to the brain that result in forgetfulness, confusion and cognitive decline."
It means that Alzheimer's disease may be left behind once and forever.
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