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A team of researchers led by Yadong Huang – professor of neurology and pathology, published a journal article saying that they successfully managed to develop and test a compound that fights the apoE4 protein. According to the paper, this protein is responsible for damaging brain cells as a result of Alzheimer’s disease.
Tests carried out in the last 10 years to cure Alzheimer’s have failed. This fact has led Yadong to believe that we need to avoid excessive optimism. So far, all researches were conducted on mice, and even tho it produced a positive result, the same was not correct on humans. Mice react to the disease and treatment differently. Therefore the treatments failed when carried out on human cells.
This research by Yadong is considered a scientific breakthrough because human cells were used in their recent study . The team worked to prevent the secretion of apoE4 protein in the brain by changing the structure of the same in order to make it harmless. This erased any damage caused by the disease and helped increase brain cell survival in the human cell model.
These results are promising since they are seen in human cells and not in an animal model. Nevertheless, the research is still not a cure, not yet at least. These tests now have to be replicated on patients so that we finally have a working cure. Currently researchers are trying to convert this finding into a compound that can be used at an industrial level so that eventually, human trials would be positive.
“It’s hard to predict how long it would take but we are working very hard right now to narrow it down from many small molecule candidates to focus on one or two and then hopefully move on to clinical trials,”- Yadong Huang.
A cure for Alzheimer’s is necessary. According to Alzheimer’s disease international, someone around the world develops dementia every 3 seconds and around 50 million people are believed to suffer form dementia as of 2017, and half of those cases are reportedly Alzheimer’s. This number is expected to be doubled every 20 years, reaching 75 million in 2030 and 131.5 million in 2050.
Edited by : Keerthana Suresh
Reference (as per APA 6th edition)
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ewsweek. (2018). Alzheimer’s disease brain damage was erased by changing the structure of this protein. [online] Available at: http://www.newsweek.com/alzheimers-disease-brain-plaque-brain-damage-879049 [Accessed 7 May 2018].
ang, C., Najm, R., Xu, Q., Jeong, D., Walker, D., Balestra, M., Yoon, S., Yuan, H., Li, G., Miller, Z., Miller, B., Malloy, M. and Huang, Y. (2018). Gain of toxic apolipoprotein E4 effects in human iPSC-derived neurons is ameliorated by a small-molecule structure corrector. Nature Medicine.