According to a new study, researchers at MIT have made a significant advancement in the fight to slow or even stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Apparently, their findings demonstrate “dramatic reductions” in neurodegeneration.
The thrilling accomplishment resulted from the researchers’ ability to interfere with an enzyme that is frequently discovered to be too active in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers.
An unidentified peptide, or chain of amino acids, was used to treat CDK5, an enzyme that is overactive.
Early mouse testing produced substantial — and rather encouraging results
Li-Huei Tsai, the study’s author, shared via The Post that “This peptide has the ability to enter one’s brain and in a couple of different models, it shows protective effects against loss of neurons and appear to be able to rescue some of the behavior deficits as well.”
With more research, the experts hope that this specific peptide would be able to cure dementia, especially dementia caused by CDK5 overactivity.
The errand enzyme manages to trigger a smaller protein called P35 that, in AD patients, can turn hazardous when “cleaved” into a smaller protein – P25 — which is also linked to Parkinson’s.
The P25 protein then induces CDK5 hyperactivity, claims a study from MIT.
The report stated that “Pharmaceutical companies have tried to target P25 with small molecule drugs, but such drugs tend to cause side effects since they also interfere with other cyclin dependent kinases, so none of them have yet been tested in human patients. When the scientists tested the peptide in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s that has hyperactive CDK5, they noticed a myriad of beneficial effects, including a reductions in DNA damage, neural inflammation, and neuron loss.”
The brain’s mutated tau protein, which becomes a key feature of AD, is being repaired by the peptide with promising results.
“Along with these effects in the brain, the researchers also noticed behavioral improvements … the researchers injected the peptide and learned that it was able to cross the blood brain barrier and reach hippocampus neurons and other such parts of the brain,” the report also says.
The peptide will be studied more in the future to see how it affects neurodegenerative conditions like diabetes-related cognitive impairment.
Neuroscience professor Stuart Lipton stated that “Further development of such peptide inhibitors towards a lead therapeutic candidate, if proven to be selective for the target and mostly free of clinical side-effects, may ultimately lead to novel treatments for neurodegenerative disorders, from Alzheimer’s disease to Frontotemporal dementia and even Parkinson’s disease.”