New research published today, Tuesday 8 December 2015, has found a new chemical that might help to break down some forms of amyloid beta protein deposits from the brains of mice. Amyloid beta is a toxic molecule that builds up to form plaques in the brain, and is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
This study, conducted by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, used mice that had symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease to see if a molecule known as EPPS can be added to the animals’ drinking water in order to break down amyloid beta plaques. The research indicated that EPPS can be orally ingested and is not toxic, although this will need to be investigated further. Additionally, the study did not show how the molecule works to clear the plaques.
James Pickett, Head of Research at the leading dementia charity, Alzheimer’s Society, said: “While new insights into potential ways to treat Alzheimer’s disease are welcome, in this case, it’s too early to say if this will one day benefit people living with Alzheimer’s. This study has found a new chemical that could help to clear some forms of amyloid, the toxic protein that is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. However, so far this has only been shown in mice, which do not fully replicate several of the important changes that we see in the brains and behaviours of people with dementia.
“We are working to increase our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease all the time, and there are already a number of drugs in clinical testing that are targeted against amyloid. We hope that new findings will one day translate into real treatments for people living with dementia.”