Plaque Busting Drug Could Target Multiple Diseases

Posted on 24 July 2015

A Lewy body (stained brown) in Parkinson's disease.  Via Wikimedia Commons 

A Lewy body (stained brown) in Parkinson’s disease.  Via Wikimedia Commons 

As dementia progress continues to advance with a cautious optimism. with signs that drug solanezumab and aducanumab may slow the decline, another drug has emerged that may act as a ‘universal’ plaque buster; attacking a common structural similarity that exists in a variety of misfolded plaques. Initially discovered through research on a bacteriophage (a virus that targets bacteria) found in sewage, the protein is able to target something called a canonical amyloid fold, which is present in many types of plaques. By combining this protein with an antibody, the drug is able to signal the plaque for immune clearance. 

“This is something very novel. There’s never been anything that can target all these plaques simultaneously.”

While previous efforts have often focused on one protein, this drug is able to target multiple varieties. As Alzheimer’s disease itself involves more than one plaque, this ‘cure all’ approach could prove more effective. Success in mice is promising but it will take human trials to determine whether the drug exerts similar effects, and whether reducing plaque in itself alleviates the condition sufficiently. Although great progress has been made, many neurodegenerative diseases are not yet fully understood and targeting plaques alone may not ‘fix’ underlying mechanisms that lead to each condition.  Read more at the New Scientist

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