BACE Inhibitor – Potential Cure for Alzheimer’s
Scientists have discovered an inhibitor for an enzyme causing Alzheimer’s disease, showing improved memory performance, according to an article published in Science on July 28, 2017.
A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has revealed that protein amyloid beta that is believed to cause Alzheimer’s, can be reduced by an inhibitor called BACE, which in turn restores the normal functioning of nerve cells in the brain, drastically improving memory.
According to Coherent Market Insights, over 50 million people suffered from dementia worldwide in 2017. No drug has developed to cure the condition. Patients with Alzheimer’s show a greater accumulation of protein amyloid beta than healthy people, thus causing the protein to clump together and damage nerve cells. Affected nerve cells become hyperactive and send false signals to adjacent cells. Also, slow oscillations tend to spin out of control. These waves are important in forming memories, by transferring learned information into long-term memory.
In an experiment, researchers used mice to test a substance that blocked beta secretase. Mice produce large amounts of amyloid beta, which generally causes memory loss in humans. These mice were given the inhibitor of beta secretase BACE in their food for eight weeks and then examined. For examining the mice, an imaging technique which allows for observing individual nerve cells in the brain, called two-photon microscopy, was used.
After a period of eight weeks, the results obtained from the microscopy showed that the mice had less amyloid beta in their brain, due to the inhibitor. The mice’s brain actually stabilized, showing fewer hyperactive nerve cells and restored slow-wave brain patterns. After this, the mice were able to find their way in the maize better than before, showing improved memory.
This experiment has thus shown that the animal’s memory has improved, demonstrating scope for improved memory in human clinical settings. If the trial on humans is successful, it would change the lives of many patients suffering with Alzheimer’s.
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