Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Study Leads to Alzheimer's Breakthrough

Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Researchers at the Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit have used an orally-administered compound to block a major pathway leading to brain cell death in mice, preventing neurodegeneration.

The team had found previously that the build up of misfolded proteins in the brains of mice with prion disease over-activates a natural defence mechanism in cells, which switches off the production of new proteins. This mechanism would normally switch back ‘on’ again, but in these mice the continued build-up of misshapen protein keeps the switch turned ‘off’. This is the trigger point leading to brain cell death, as the key proteins essential for nerve cell survival stop being made. 

Originally, the team injected a protein that blocked the ‘off’ switch of the pathway into a small region of the brain, and by doing this were able to restore protein production, and halt the neurodegeneration. The brain cells were protected, and protein levels and synaptic transmission (the way in which brain cells signal to each other) were restored allowing the mice to live longer. This led the scientists to predict that compounds able to block this pathway would also protect brain cells.

In the new study, published in Science Translational Medicine, the researchers gave by mouth a drug-like compound against the pathway to prion infected mice, hoping to block the off-switch in the same way.  The compound, which had originally been developed by GlaxoSmithKline for a different purpose, was able to enter the brain from the bloodstream and halt the disease, throughout the whole brain. However, this compound, despite protecting the brain, also produced weight loss in the mice and mild diabetes, due to damage to the pancreas.*

The researchers studied mice with prion disease because these mouse models currently provide the best animal representation of human neurodegenerative disorders in which the build up of misshapen proteins is linked with brain cell death.  These include Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as prion diseases.  Another paper in Nature Neuroscience last month highlighted this pathway as a potential therapeutic target in treating Alzheimer’s.

Professor Giovanna Mallucci, who led the team, said, “Our previous study predicted that this pathway could be a target for treatment to protect brain cells in neurodegenerative disease.  So we administered a compound that blocks it to mice with prion disease. We were extremely excited when we saw the treatment stop the disease in its tracks and protect brain cells, restoring some normal behaviours and preventing memory loss in the mice.

“We’re still a long way from a usable drug for humans – this compound had serious side effects. But the fact that we have established that this pathway can be manipulated to protect against brain cell loss first with genetic tools and now with a compound, means that developing drug treatments targeting this pathway for prion and other neurodegenerative diseases is now a real possibility.”

Professor Hugh Perry, chair of the Medical Research Council's Neuroscience and Mental Health Board, said, “Misshapen proteins in prion diseases and other human neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, also over-activate this fundamental pathway controlling protein synthesis in the brains of patients. Despite the toxicity of the compound used, this study indicates that, in mice at least, we now have proof-of-principle of a therapeutic pathway that can be targeted. This might eventually aid the development of drugs to treat people suffering from dementias and other devastating neurodegenerative diseases.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,200+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

MRC Technology, Alzheimer’s Association Collaborate
MRC Technology (MRCT), an independent medical research charity based in London, and the Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago have entered into an agreement to review and monitor the Association’s grant-funded research portfolio.
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Study Shows Blocking Brain Inflammation Could Help Alzheimer's
The research was jointly funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Saturday, January 09, 2016
A Fundamental Protection Mechanism Against Formalin In Mammals is Revealed
Formaldehyde, or formalin, is well known to all of us as a common chemical used in many industrial processes and also as a preservative, remarkably we also produce formaldehyde in our bodies.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Liver Regrown from Stem Cells
Scientists have repaired a damaged liver in a mouse by transplanting stem cells grown in the laboratory.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
MRC, GSK and Five Leading UK Universities Collaborate
Collaboration to crack difficult disease areas.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
‘Mini Bile Ducts’ used to Discover New Drugs that could Prevent Liver Damage
An experimental cystic fibrosis drug has been shown to prevent the disease’s damage to the liver, thanks to a world-first where scientists grew mini bile ducts in the lab.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
First RNAi Meiosis Screen Reveals Genes Essential to Generate Eggs
Screening techniques developed leading to the discovery of genes essential for meiosis in mammals.
Wednesday, July 08, 2015
Study Identifies New Way to Kill the Malaria Parasite
Scientists have discovered new ways in which the malaria parasite survives in the blood stream of its victims, a discovery that could pave the way to new treatments for the disease.
Tuesday, July 07, 2015
Making Vaccines More Effective In The Elderly
Compound shown to restore the immune system’s inbuilt memory.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Immune Organ Regenerated in Mice
Scientists have for the first time used regenerative medicine to fully restore a degenerated organ in a living animal.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
AstraZeneca, MRC Collaboration to Create New Centre for Early Drug Discovery
The Companies today announced the groundbreaking collaboration aimed at better understanding the mechanisms of human disease. The collaboration will see the creation of a joint research facility at AstraZeneca’s new R&D centre in Cambridge in the UK.
Monday, March 31, 2014
MRC Invests £32M to Improve Data Research
Investment will improve capability, capacity and capital infrastructure in medical bioinformatics.
Friday, February 07, 2014
Redirecting the Rules of Attraction in Fruit Flies
MRC researchers have discovered a biological switch that determines which part of the fruit fly’s brain responds to pheromones, depending on whether the fruit fly is male or female.
Friday, December 20, 2013
A Gene Mutation for Excessive Alcohol Drinking Found
UK researchers have discovered a gene that regulates alcohol consumption and when faulty can cause excessive drinking.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology Alumni Awarded Nobel Prize for Chemistry
Professor Michael Levitt, Professor Arieh Warshel and Professor Martin Karplus awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Scientific News
Open Source Seed Initiative – A Welcome Boost to Global Crop Breeding
A team of plant breeders, farmers, non-profit agencies, seed advocates, and policymakers have created the Open Source Seed Initiative.
ASMS 2016: Targeting Mass Spectrometry Tools for the Masses
The expanding application range of MS in life sciences, food, energy, and health sciences research was highlighted at this year's ASMS meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
A New Way Out for Stem Cells
Researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered that therapeutic stem cells exit the bloodstream in a different manner than was previously thought.
One Giant Leap for the Future of Safe Drug Delivery
Sheffield engineers make major breakthrough in developing silk ‘micro-rockets’ that can be used safely in biological environments.
Designing Potential AIDS Vaccine Candidates
Findings represent ‘big accomplishment’ in biomedical engineering and design.
Anticancer Drug Stops Ebola Virus Molecule in its Tracks
A team of scientists from the University of Oxford have successfully mapped the structure of the Ebola virus molecule that drives the attack strategy and leads to fatal infections in humans.
Assessing the Effectiveness of Genome-Editing Technologies
Researchers have developed a cost-effective and rapid method for assessing edits generated by CRISPR-Cas9 and other genome-editing technologies.
Anthrax Proteins Might Help Treat Cancerous Tumors
Studies in mice reveal novel treatment regimen.
New Cancer Drug Target Found in Dual-Function Protein
Findings from a study from TSRI have shown that targeting a protein called GlyRS might help to halt cancer growth.
Key to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is in Your Gut, Not Head
Researchers report they have identified biological markers of the disease in gut bacteria and inflammatory microbial agents in the blood.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,200+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!