Scientists have reportedly discovered a new way to offset proteins that lead to Alzheimer's disease-like symptoms, which include loss of memory, albeit in mice.
The study was initiated by researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine, who observed the reaction of tau protein tangles in monkeys and mice.
The study was led by Dr. Timothy Miller and the research team believes that reducing the protein could be beneficial in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
"Accumulation of hyperphosphorylated tau directly correlates with cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease and other primary tauopathies. One therapeutic strategy may be to reduce total tau expression," believe researchers.
Research And Findings
For the purpose of the study, the researchers injected mice with an antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) called Tau-ASO12 for four consecutive weeks.
For 30 days at a stretch the researchers used the dose on the mice once a day. The Tau-ASO12 was injected into the fluid at the base of their spine. The mice that were chosen for the study were genetically modified. The mice were 6 months old when they developed tangles and gave an indication of neurological damage at the age of 9 months.
The drug spread successfully all over the brain and reduced the level of tau that was made. Even the tau tangles that were there seemed to be destroyed, thereby restricting them from spreading around the brain in older mice.
This ASO basically targets the tangles of tau protein on those having Alzheimer's disease symptoms and, therefore, upon being injected into the mice reversed brain damage, stopped memory loss, and extended their lives.
It was observed that the mice with the Tau-ASO12 treatment not only outlived those that had not been treated but also proved to be more efficient in building nests.
A Promising Treatment For Alzheimer's Disease
The study proves that the mice were far better in social functioning after treatment, which reaffirms researchers' assertions as this ability gets damaged because of Alzheimer's disease.
"We have shown that this molecule lowers levels of the tau protein, preventing and, in some cases, reversing the neurological damage. This compound is the first that has been shown to reverse tau-related damage to the brain that also has the potential to be used as a therapeutic in people," says Miller.
The researchers tried the same treatment on a relatively larger animal - monkeys. The researchers witnessed a 20 percent drop in the amount of tau detected in spinal fluid samples and without any side effects. This suggests that the treatment may prove to be beneficial and effective for humans as well in the near future.
Miller feels this new approach is extremely promising, but further study is required to make sure that the treatment will be safe for humans.
The study has been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
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