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Scientists develop a Drug likely to benefit people with Alzheimer’s Disease

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FILE - An image shows activity in a human brain. Scientists have developed a drug capable of sweeping away abnormal protein clumps in the brain which are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. VOA

Washington, Jan 27, 2017: Scientists have developed a drug they hope will benefit people with Alzheimer’s disease, which afflicts an estimated 44 million people around the world. The new compound sweeps away abnormal protein clumps in the brain which are a hallmark of the neurodegenerative disorder.

In a study reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers describe how a synthetic drug, called antisense oligoneucleotide, reduced the production and in some cases cleared clumps of tau in the brain.

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Tau bundles are one of the hallmarks of the disease, along with beta amyloid deposits, another destructive protein.

By stopping the formation of tau, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, found they could extend the lives of mice that were bred to have collections of human tau in their brains.

Lead author Sara DeVos said scientists saw an improvement in their condition.

“So these mice die earlier than normal. So when we treat with our drug, the mice live longer and we can also prevent neurons from dying. So if we give this drug, the neurons will no longer die as a result of these tau bundles,” said DeVos

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The investigators also tested the compound in monkeys and saw positive results.

FILE – Patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia are seen during a therapy session. Alzheimer’s afflicts an estimated 44 million people around the world. VOA

Human testing expected soon

Antisense oligneucleotide targets the genetic instructions for building tau. The molecule binds to messenger RNA, which carries out the DNA blueprint for life, preventing tau from being produced. The drug can be made to target RNA for destruction of any protein, said scientists.

Tim Miller, a professor of neurology at Washington University and senior author of the study, hopes the drug, developed with Ionis Pharmaceuticals, will soon be tested in humans with Alzheimer’s disease.

“The most exciting and most interesting … is to apply this to people who we presume have abnormal tau to test the hypothesis whether lowering tau in those people will be of benefit to those people,” he said.

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Other types of antisense oligoneucleotides have been approved by U.S. regulators and are being used to treat the neurodegenerative disease muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy. The compound is in clinical trials for Huntington’s disease and ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Because tau deposits are only a piece of the puzzle that causes Alzheimer’s, the investigators envision using the drug with other treatments, also in development.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, which primarily strikes senior adults, leading to a decline in mental functioning and eventually death. (VOA)

Next Story

Scientists Find Solution to Reduce Air Pollution, Develop Smart Windows

The design could lay the foundation for next-generation flexible transparent smart windows that can reduce air pollution.

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Scientists, Air pollution
The design could lay the foundation for next-generation flexible transparent smart windows that can reduce air pollution. Pixabay

A team of Chinese scientists have developed a large-scale transparent smart window that can change light intensity while effectively capturing the particulate matter in smog, a study said.

The study published on Saturday in the journal iScience described a simple solution-based process to fabricate large-area flexible transparent windows with Ag-nylon electrodes for high-efficiency PM2.5 capture, reports Xinhua news agency.

It takes only 20 minutes to fabricate 7.5 square metres of Ag-nylon flexible transparent windows showing an optical transmittance of over 86 per cent, according to the group of scientists led by Yu Shuhong from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC).

Scientists, Air Pollution Control
The scientists found that the obtained Ag-nylon electrodes could be used as an ideal intelligent thermochromic smart window with excellent mechanical stability. Pixabay

The Ag-nylon mesh can not only change the indoor light intensity, but also purify indoor air as a high-efficiency PM2.5 filter.

The scientists found that the obtained Ag-nylon electrodes could be used as an ideal intelligent thermochromic smart window with excellent mechanical stability.

It remains stable after undergoing a bending test with 10,000 bending cycles with a minimum bending radius of 2.0 mm.

ALSO READ: Scientists Develop A New Technique to Measure Blood Clot

Also, the Ag-nylon electrodes can remove PM2.5 by 99.65 per cent while remaining stable even after 100 cycles of PM filtration and a cleaning process, according to the study.

The design could lay the foundation for next-generation flexible transparent smart windows that can reduce air pollution. (IANS)