MAY 03, 2018 1:13 AM PDT

Re-Designing Treatments for Alzheimer Disease

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer which is a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities that complicate activities of daily life.

 

 

 

To this day, treating Alzheimer is difficult. However, new answers to why certain clinical trial drugs have failed to treat dementia and Alzheimer was explained in a study published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics. This study which was by scientists in Australia and the US, has provided new hope for potential new treatments with existing drugs.

 

In particular, investigators constructed evidence from human studies and animal models of dementia-related diseases to show that inflammation is a cause and not simply a consequence. Researchers provided evidence that many genes associated with dementia regulate our responses to the inflammatory damage.

"For decades, scientists have thought that dementia and Alzheimer's disease are caused by protein aggregates forming in the brain. But recent clinical trials of drugs that reduce the aggregates have failed," explains project leader Professor Robert Richards, from the University of Adelaide's School of Biological Sciences. Richards is collaborating with the University's Adelaide Medical School and the National Institutes of Health, in the US.

 

Inflammation was known to rise as a symptom of dementia-related diseases progression. However, now inflammation is believed to be a cause. Formerly, inflammation was studied as a way to “clean” tissue damage caused by protein aggregates. "We know that inflammation has different phases – early on it can be protective against a threat by actively degrading it, but if the threat is not removed, then persistent inflammation actually causes cell death," explains Professor Richards.

 

The research this implies that the genetic linkage allows inflammation to come comes first and then tissue damage second. "Many genes linked with dementia operate at the level of controlling cellular inflammation. Both internal and external triggers interact with these genes to play a part. Inflammation is the point through which many triggers converge," says Professor Richards who supports the idea that brain inflammation might as well be seen as a virus infection. "Inflammation is a very effective defense against foreign agents like viruses. But as we get older and accumulate mutations, our cells can make proteins and DNA products that mimic viruses, and these build up in the system," he further explains, "Normally, our cells bar-code their own products to tell them apart from foreign agents. When these bar-codes aren't in place, our cells can't properly distinguish 'self' and 'non-self' trigger molecules. The result is inflammation that escalates and spreads – hence the term auto-inflammatory disease." Eventually, these new insights can provide the basis for new drug discovery methods that will succeed. "With this new understanding of the disease, we now need to test existing anti-inflammatory drugs for their effectiveness in treating dementia".

 

Sources: MecialXpress.com, Alzheimer Association, Journal of Human Molecular Genetics

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
AUG 25, 2020
Immunology
Targeting Checkpoint Molecule Could Mean Checkmate for Cancer
AUG 25, 2020
Targeting Checkpoint Molecule Could Mean Checkmate for Cancer
In a new study published in Cell, researchers have identified a metabolic enzyme that could have powerful tumor-killing ...
SEP 13, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Scientists Find Way to Reduce Inflammation from Vaccines
SEP 13, 2020
Scientists Find Way to Reduce Inflammation from Vaccines
Researchers from the University of Chicago have found a new way to reduce vaccine-related inflammation from adjuvants, a ...
SEP 20, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Revealing the Structure of Hallucinogens Bound to Their Receptor
SEP 20, 2020
Revealing the Structure of Hallucinogens Bound to Their Receptor
Recent studies have demonstrated that hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline have therapeutic potentia ...
OCT 02, 2020
Immunology
Stop the Clot: A New Antibody Treatment for Thrombosis
OCT 02, 2020
Stop the Clot: A New Antibody Treatment for Thrombosis
Blood clotting helps stem the bleeding from a wound, suppressing blood loss and stopping pathogenic microorganisms from ...
OCT 10, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Fishnet of Nanoparticles Traps Drug Molecules
OCT 10, 2020
Fishnet of Nanoparticles Traps Drug Molecules
‘Fishnet’ Nanoparticles Traps Drug Molecules A team at Northwestern University have casted a net of nanopart ...
OCT 11, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Treating Connective Tissue Disorders
OCT 11, 2020
Treating Connective Tissue Disorders
Collaborative research efforts are geared to improving disease that affects connective tissues via innovative drug deliv ...
Loading Comments...