Hopes raised that drugs tar­get­ing dan­ger en­zyme can be made for hu­mans

Daily Record - - INFO - MARK WAGHORN re­porters@dai­

ALZHEIMER’S dis­ease has been suc­cess­fully re­versed in mice – of­fer­ing hope of the first ther­apy for hu­mans.

An en­zyme in the brain that fu­els rogue pro­teins at the root of the dev­as­tat­ing neu­ro­log­i­cal ill­ness was de­stroyed, im­prov­ing the an­i­mals’ cog­ni­tive func­tion, boost­ing learn­ing and mem­ory.

The key was block­ing a chem­i­cal called BACE1, which has been at the heart of de­men­tia re­search for years.

This helps pro­duce mol­e­cules known as beta amy­loid that clump to­gether in the brains of Alzheimer’s pa­tients.

Grad­u­ally de­plet­ing BACE1 got rid of these destruc­tive plaques in the brains of mice with Alzheimer’s.

There have been pre­vi­ous at­tempts to de­velop drugs that in­hibit BACE1 but these have mostly failed due to side-ef­fects such as liver tox­i­c­ity and eye prob­lems.

Last year, a trial of a drug de­vel­oped by Merck was aban­doned be­fore it could be com­pleted after dis­ap­point­ing re­sults.

But find­ings pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Ex­per­i­men­tal Medicine raise fresh hope that drugs tar­get­ing this en­zyme will even­tu­ally be able to suc­cess­fully treat the dis­ease.

Dr Riqiang Yan, of the Cleve­land Clinic Lerner Re­search In­sti­tute in the US, said: “To our knowl­edge, this is the first ob­ser­va­tion of such a dra­matic re­ver­sal of amy­loid de­po­si­tion in any study of Alzheimer’s dis­ease mouse models.

“Our study pro­vides ge­netic ev­i­dence that pre­formed amy­loid de­po­si­tion can be com­pletely re­versed.

“Our data show that BACE1 in­hibitors have the po­ten­tial to treat Alzheimer’s dis­ease pa­tients with­out un­wanted tox­i­c­ity.”

There are 850,000 peo­ple with de­men­tia in Bri­tain, and this fig­ure is ex­pected to reach one mil­lion by 2025. Alzheimer’s is its most com­mon form.

Cache for ques­tions

French cus­toms of­fi­cers have seized nearly 500 guns, hand grenades and a huge arse­nal of am­mu­ni­tion from a sports shop owner in Boulogne-sur-Mer.

BREAK­THROUGH Mice study could help suf­fer­ers

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