Studies say that a new class of medicines to effectively treat Alzheimer's disease may soon be available.
An international research group has shed light on how a fragment of a protein increases the production of the amyloid beta protein in the brain.
The researchers say that knowing that the N60 fragment of the RanBP9 protein increases the production of the amyloid beta protein, which is present in excessive amounts in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease, gives scientists a more specific focus for developing new drugs.
Most experts believe that if the creation of amyloid beta protein can be halted or slowed, the devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease may also be stopped or slowed too, according to background information in a research article published in the FASEB Journal.
David Kang, assistant professor of neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego, and one of the researchers involved in the work, said: "Our study suggests that targeting RanBP9 expression and/or N60 fragment generation may lead to novel strategies to combat this devastating disease."
During the study, Kang and his colleagues examined extracts from brains with Alzheimer's disease and age-matched healthy controls.
The researchers found that the N60 section of RanBP9 was increased in Alzheimer's brain.
"Alzheimer's might seem hopeless to some, but this research shows that we're closer than ever to unraveling both the protein tangles and mysteries surrounding this devastating disease," said Dr. Gerald Weissmann, the Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal.