Protein research could help in hunt for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's cures

Research carried out at the University of Kent has the potential to influence the future search for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases that are linked to a family of protein molecules known as 'amyloid'. The findings by a team of scientists led by Dr Wei-Feng Xue in the School of Biosciences could lead to a better understanding of the diseases, and suggest potential diagnostics and therapeutics strategies to combat amyloid-associated disease progression and their possible infectivity.

Currently, there is a gap in the knowledge of the factors that govern the infectious potential of amyloid in general. In an article published in the journal eLife, Dr Xue's team report on their investigations into why some forms of amyloid are highly infectious - the so-called prion form associated with BSE (Mad Cow Disease) and the human form, CJD (Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease) - while others are less infectious or even inert.

They discovered that the infectious potential of an amyloid is a complex biological property better described on a sliding scale rather than either one category (transmissible prions) or another (non-transmissible amyloid), as it is now.

Currently most amyloids apart from prions are viewed as non-transmissible between individuals meaning people would be unable to 'catch' Alzheimer's or Parkinson's simply by association. This research sheds new light on why some amyloid forms can potentially spread between cells and tissues within the same individual, and some are considered prions that are transmissible from one individual to another.

Ricardo Marchante, David M Beal, Nadejda Koloteva-Levine, Tracey J Purton, Mick F Tuite, Wei-Feng Xue.
The physical dimensions of amyloid aggregates control their infective potential as prion particles.
eLife 2017;6:e27109 doi: 10.7554/eLife.27109.

Most Popular Now

Cannabis extract helps reset brain function in psy…

Research from King's College London has found that a single dose of the cannabis extract cannabidiol can help reduce brain function abnormalities seen in people with psyc...

New cancer treatment uses enzymes to boost immune …

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a new approach to treating cancer using enzyme therapy. The enzyme, PEG-KYNase, does not directly kill can...

Bayer accelerates six new startups

Changing the experience of health: that's the focus of the six startups which the Bayer G4A team has included in the Accelerator program this year. The young companies fr...

Novartis receives European Commission approval of …

Novartis today announced that the European Commission (EC) has approved Kymriah® (tisagenlecleucel, formerly CTL019). The approved indications are for the treatment of pe...

Antioxidant reduces risk for second heart attack, …

Doctors have long known that in the months after a heart attack or stroke, patients are more likely to have another attack or stroke. Now, a paper in the Journal of the A...

Shire completes sale of oncology franchise

Shire plc (LSE: SHP, NASDAQ: SHPG) announces today that it has completed the sale of its Oncology franchise to Servier S.A.S. for $2.4 billion. The franchise includes the...

Novartis to divest the Sandoz US dermatology busin…

Novartis today announced it has agreed to sell selected portions of its Sandoz US portfolio, specifically the Sandoz US dermatology business and generic US oral solids po...

Tezepelumab granted Breakthrough Therapy Designati…

AstraZeneca and its partner Amgen Inc. (Amgen) today announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation for tezepelumab...

New tablet production facility in Ingelheim: Cente…

Boehringer Ingelheim held a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new production facility for innovative drugs. This new Solids Launch facility will focus on ...

Pfizer terminates domagrozumab (PF-06252616) clini…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) announced that it is terminating two ongoing clinical studies evaluating domagrozumab (PF-06252616) for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrop...

Pfizer and Astellas amend clinical research protoc…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE:4503, President and CEO: Kenji Yasukawa, Ph.D., "Astellas") announced amendments to the protocols for two registratio...

Study links widely-used drug azathioprine to skin …

A drug used to treat inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis and vasculitis as well as to prevent organ rejection in transplant patients has been identified as an important...