Two years after discovering a way to neutralize a rogue protein linked to Alzheimer's disease, University of Alberta Distinguished University Professor and neurologist Jack Jhamandas has found a new piece of the Alzheimer's puzzle, bringing him closer to a treatment for the disease.
The treatment also reduced some of the harmful physical changes in the brain that are associated with the disease.
"In the mice that received the drugs, we found less amyloid plaque buildup and a reduction in brain inflammation," said Jhamandas, who is also a member of the Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute.
"So this was very interesting and exciting because it showed us that not only was memory being improved in the mice, but signs of brain pathology in Alzheimer's disease were also greatly improved.
This discovery builds on previous findings of a compound called AC253 that can block the toxic effects of a protein called amyloid beta, which is believed to be a major contributor to Alzheimer's because it is often found in large quantities in the brains of patients with the disease.
AC253 blocks amyloid beta from attaching to certain receptors in brain cells--a process Jhamandas likens to plugging a keyhole.