Potential drug-like compounds that can speed up the destruction of protein linked to Alzheimer's has been uncovered by Mayo Clinic researchers.
The research team led by Dr Malcolm Leissring, from Mayo's Department of Neuroscience have found two chemicals that could speed up activity of a molecule, insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE), which helps destroy A-beta proteins that form plaque in the brains of patients.
"Historically, a lot of effort has been made at stopping initial production of A-beta in order to halt development of Alzheimer's disease, but we are interested in what happens to A-beta after it is produced," said Leissring.
During the study, the researchers found that one agent, dubbed Ia1, increased the activity of IDE by about 700 percent, while the second compound, Ia2, increased it by almost 400 percent.
"This study describes the first examples of synthetic small-molecule activators of IDE, showing that activation of this important enzyme with druglike compounds is achievable," Leissring said.
"If it is possible to generate drugs for human use that stimulate the activity of IDE, these agents might offer therapeutic benefit for treating and preventing Alzheimer's disease," he added.
Leissring said since IDE also chews up excess insulin in the body, the role for which it is primarily known, small molecule activators might also be useful in controlling diabetes.
The study is published in PLoS ONE.