New approach in Alzheimer's therapy

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New treatment options for Alzheimer's discovered

Scientists around the world are busy researching the basics of Alzheimer's disease and possible therapeutic approaches. Jens Pahnke and colleagues from the “Neurodegeneration Research Lab” (NRL) at the University of Rostock have now identified incorrect transport of special proteins (amyloids) in the brain as the cause of Alzheimer's disease and at the same time tried a new treatment approach.

The number of Alzheimer's diseases has already increased significantly across Germany in the past decades and, according to the German Alzheimer's Association, will continue to increase in the coming years. Those affected will double by 2050 if research does not develop an effective drug.

Deposition of Alzheimer's protein in the brain In animal experiments with genetically modified mice, the research team led by Jens Pahnke demonstrated that a defect in the transporter ABCC1 causes a massive increase in the harmful Alzheimer's protein in the brain. As the researchers report in the current issue of the journal "The Journal of Clinical Investigation", the Alzheimer's peptides could not cross the blood-brain barrier in the absence of the transporter and were deposited in the animal's brain. The amount of amyloids in the brain of the mice increased twelvefold due to the transport defect, according to the Rostock Alzheimer experts. As Jens Pahnke explains in the current article, every person in the brain forms “the toxic substances that make up the Alzheimer's plaques during aging.” But in healthy people, these can pass through the blood-brain closet with the help of certain transporters and are therefore less frequently deposited in the brain. The consequence of the deposition of Alzheimer's peptides in the brain is the death of the nerve cells and the associated development of Alzheimer's dementia, according to the scientists. So far it has been “completely unknown” how this mechanism “works in 99 percent of Alzheimer's patients,” explained Jens Pahnke. Only "we know the causes of the few familial Alzheimer's cases," continues Pahnke. Accordingly, the researchers also spent a long time in the dark when looking for possible therapeutic approaches.

New treatment option for Alzheimer's discovered? However, the Rostock scientists have not only deciphered the reason for the increased formation of Alzheimer's peptides in the brain, but also found a way to influence the deposition of the amyloids. The drug, thiethylperazine, which has been used for decades to treat dizziness, nausea and vomiting, reduced the amount of Alzheimer's peptides in the brain by about 70 percent over a period of 25 days, the scientists report. For the first time, it was not only possible to demonstrate a connection between the deposition of harmful amyloids in the brain and the ABCC1 transporter, but also to show an option for drug treatment. According to the Alzheimer researchers, the known active ingredient would have to be further developed in future studies, but there is always hope for a therapy option that can have a positive effect on the outbreak and course of the disease for the benefit of the patient. For their further studies, the researchers are currently looking for patients across Germany to help them examine the function of the transporters in the brain in more detail. According to the experts, it is known, for example, that the function of the transporter is modified by food, medication or other environmental influences.

Further investigations into drug Alzheimer therapy required As the Alzheimer expert Wolfgang Härtig from the University Clinic Leipzig confirmed in a commentary on the current study, the results of Pahnke and colleagues are an important step on the way to a successful treatment of Alzheimer's diseases. Although diagnostic methods have improved considerably in recent decades, no progress has been made in the treatment of neurodegenerative disease, Härtig explained. This is why “every new idea like Pahnke's is extremely welcome,” emphasized the Alzheimer researcher from Leipzig. As Jans Pahnke explained, however, it could take another five years before drug treatment for Alzheimer's is possible. It also remains to be seen whether influencing the amyloid transport mechanism shows the same effects in all patients. In order to take a closer look at this, Pahnke and colleagues are currently looking for volunteer study participants, with older couples, in whom one partner has dementia, being particularly well suited for research, the researchers from Rostock explained.

Natural substances for the treatment of Alzheimer's? Since the prospects for successful treatment of Alzheimer's disease will continue to depend to a large extent on the time of diagnosis, the Rostock scientists are currently also working on a diagnostic method to check how well the transporters work in the brain. This would allow conclusions to be drawn about the risk of illness and could serve as a method for early diagnosis, explained Jens Pahnke. The goal of the scientists is "that the disease be recognized as early as possible in order to prevent further deterioration," emphasized the expert. The Rostock researchers are also breaking new ground. Another project at the University of Rostock is currently testing naturopathic active ingredients that are supposed to have a preventive effect against diseases of old age and could therefore possibly have a preventive effect on dementia and Alzheimer's. For example, the "Greek (not the German) verbena" had the effect that the genetically manipulated "mice improved mental performance and reduced the amount of Alzheimer's peptides by 80 percent," reports Jens Pahnke. The key to future treatment of dementia Alzheimer's - like so many other diseases - could be a natural ingredient. (fp)

Read about Alzheimer's:
Alzheimer's is often not recognized
Alzheimer's was recognizable years before the outbreak
Alzheimer's: Vitamin B can prevent dementia
Bilingualism delays Alzheimer's
World Alzheimer's Day: experts warn of dementia
Alzheimer's is far from curable
Dementia and Alzheimer's

Image: Gerd Altmann,

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Video: [email protected] #TradeTalks: New Approach to the Treatment of Alzheimers Disease @Cortexyme @JillMaland..


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