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Alzheimer's Disease

Penn scientists report breakthrough in Alzheimer’s disease research

In an exciting move in the global fight against Alzheimer’s researcher at the University of Pennsylvania have found that tangled information spread from one cell to another because Tau proteins get wrongly folded. This discovery may help us stop the cell-to-cell spread. Although the breakthrough may not succeed in prevent the disease, it could certainly delay the onset of its onset.

Nearly 50 per cent of people who live till 85 and beyond are likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, a debilitating malaise that currently has no cure. However, scientists are certainly not giving up. Every day they probe brains ravaged by the illness for clues that may enable them to find an answer. Says Dr Virginia Lee, Director of Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research at the University of Pennsylvania, ‘this is a dream for all scientists working on any disease,’ referring to the breakthrough.

Dr Lee and Dr John Trojanowski led the study as part of an expert consortium and after many years of trial and error appear to have finally found a way to at least delay the onset of the disease. “We began by targeting Tau and Sia Nuclein and eventually figured a way to unfold the protein using a small molecule or alternately trap and trash it with antibodies,” said Dr. Trojanowski, Director of Penn Institute on Aging. Success of their experiments on mice may on a later day lead to an application that could work on humans.

Since Alzheimer’s generally afflicts in their 80s even delaying the cell-to-cell spread by five years would be tantamount to an effective cure.

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