22 March 2009

Combination therapy recommended

Mechanism of Alzheimer’s suggests combination therapy needed
UIC News: 17 March 2009
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have discovered a mode of action for mysterious but diagnostic protein snarls found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients that suggests a one-two punch of therapy may be needed to combat the neurodegenerative disease.

Alzheimer's disease, which may affect as many as 5 million Americans and is among the most costly diseases to society in the United States and Europe, is characterized by two distinctive protein malformations: amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Amyloid plaques are sticky deposits made up of a short protein called amyloid beta, and tau tangles are made of short filaments of the tau protein.

So far no one has been able to explain how amyloid beta and the tau tangles wreak their damage on the nervous system. "We have known for a long time that amyloid beta was bad," said Scott Brady, professor and head of anatomy and cell biology at the UIC College of Medicine. "What we haven't understood is why it's bad." The findings, reported in a new study appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online Early Edition for March 16-20, suggest promising new targets for combination therapy. … > full press release

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