Discovery Holds Promise of New Alzheimer’s Treatments

Discovery Holds Promise of New Alzheimer's Treatments

Discovery Holds Promise of New Alzheimer's Treatments

New research published by the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, entitled “Gamma-secretase Activating Protein is a Therapeutic Target for Alzheimer’s Disease”, show new promise in the development of treatment of this disease. The results of the study were published in the online version of academic journal Nature.

The researchers, Drs. Paul Greengard and Gen He, discovered a new protein that works in the body to stimulate the creation of beta-amyloid. Beta-amyloid is a toxic substance that leads to the worst symptoms of Alzheimer’s. The protein gamma-secretase activating protein, or gSAP, could be used as the main target for treatments, such as drugs, that aim to lower beta-amyloid levels in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients.

The cancer treatment drug Gleevec was also found to target this protein, while previous research has shown that Gleevec can lead to lower beta-amyloid amounts. This drug was shown in the newest research to bind to gSAP. This prevents the activation of a special enzyme known as gamma-secretase, which then creates beta-amyloid. But there is another piece of good news that comes from this new research. In testing, researchers found that inhibiting gSAP from producing beta-amyloid did not prove toxic to important nerve cells. This has been the main problem with beta-amyloid medications that are in development.

New, specific treatments could be made for Alzheimer’s patients that won’t cause further damage to brain cells by targeting the gSAP cells. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and degenerating disease that has few treatments and no cure at this time. The experts at the Fisher Center explain that while there are a few drugs that hide the symptoms for a short time, nothing available now can stop the progression of the symptoms. Researchers with the center hope to develop new breakthroughs that help Alzheimer’s patients live better lives and prevent new cases from emerging.

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