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 3,100+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,500+ 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
The Rise of 3D Cell Culture and in vitro Model Systems for Drug Discovery and Toxicology
An overview of the current technology and the challenges and benefits over 2D cell culture models plus some of the latest advances relating to human health research.
Injecting New Life into Old Antibiotics
A new fully synthetic way to make a class of antibiotics called macrolides from simple building blocks is set to open up a new front in the fight against antimicrobial drug resistance.
Insight into Bacterial Resilience and Antibiotic Targets
Variant of CRISPR technology paired with computerized imaging reveals essential gene networks in bacteria.
Advancing Protein Visualization
Cryo-EM methods can determine structures of small proteins bound to potential drug candidates.
Alzheimer’s Protein Serves as Natural Antibiotic
Alzheimer's-associated amyloid plaques may be part of natural process to trap microbes, findings suggest new therapeutic strategies.
Slime Mold Reveals Clues to Immune Cells’ Directional Abilities
Study from UC San Diego identifies a protein involved in the directional ability of a slime mold.
How Do You Kill A Malaria Parasite?
Drexel University scientists have discovered an unusual mechanism for how two new antimalarial drugs operate: They give the parasite’s skin a boost in cholesterol, making it unable to traverse the narrow labyrinths of the human bloodstream. The drugs also seem to trick the parasite into reproducing prematurely.
Illuminating Hidden Gene Regulators
New super-resolution technique visualizes important role of short-lived enzyme clusters.
Supressing Intenstinal Analphylaxis in Peanut Allergy
Study from National Jewish Health shows that blockade of histamine receptors suppresses intestinal anaphylaxis in peanut allergy.
New NIH-EPA Research Centers to Study Environmental Health Disparities
Scientists will partner with community organizations to study these concerns and develop culturally appropriate ways to reduce exposure to harmful environmental conditions.
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
3,100+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!