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Published on 3 June 2008

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Alzheimer’s treatment breakthrough


New drugs which could slow down the development of Alzheimer’s disease could become a reality following the discovery of an enzyme which can help reverse the process.

Researchers at Dundee University say the enzyme can partially reverse the process that causes the abnormal structures of a protein called CRMP2 – a protein which leads to the development of abnormal formations in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers.

Dr Calum Sutherland, who led the study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, said that while the enzyme which causes the formation of abnormal structures had been known for some time, the discovery of an enzyme which can reverse the process is a breakthrough.

“If drugs could be developed that activate this, or associated enzymes, then they should reverse the abnormal structure of CRMP2 and hopefully slow down the development of tangles in the brain,” he said.

“We hope that drugs companies will take notice of this and look to develop drugs capable of activating this enzyme, although we will also be looking at naturally-occurring ways of activating it.”

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease which, along with other dementias, affects 700,000 people in the UK.

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Journal of Biological Chemistry

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