Scientists at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) claim that they have discovered a potential therapeutic target for Alzheimer's disease.
The team led by Amantha Thathiah, in collaboration with researchers from the biotech company Galapagos, have identified a protein called GPR3, which plays a key role in plaque build-up in the brain.
While experimenting on mice, the researchers observed that blocking GPR3 led to a reduction of the plaques.
The brains of Alzheimer's patients typically show the presence of amyloid plaques, which are abnormal accumulations of a protein (ß-amyloid) between the neurons.
Current medicines for Alzheimer's patients sustain the memory functions for a short time, but they are unable to stop the brain cells from dying off.
They are able to limit the loss of memory during the early phases of the disease.
The GPR3 protein is an important target molecule for the eventual development of a new medicine against Alzheimer's disease.