Fisher Scientists Discover New Ways to Rid Cells of Alzhei...

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March 24, 2011

Identifying a cure for Alzheimer’s disease remains a major challenge. Few drugs are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat Alzheimer’s patients. Unfortunately none of these drugs halt progression of the disease and their impact on cognitive defects is minimal. On top of that, current strategies to reduce beta-amyloid, the plaque forming proteins found in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, are associated with severe side effects. This limitation was highlighted recently by the failures of various clinical trials.

Two current discoveries by researchers at the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research laboratory under the direction of Nobel laureate Dr. Paul Greengard have now made it possible to prevent accumulation of beta-amyloid in nerve cells and in the brain. One involves inhibiting the formation of beta-amyloid. The second discovery involves stimulating the breakdown of beta-amyloid. According to Dr. Greengard, “the combination of inhibition of formation and acceleration of breakdown of beta-amyloid represents a new and powerful strategy for treating Alzheimer’s disease.”

In the first project, Dr. Greengard and researchers in his laboratory identified gamma-secretase activating protein (gSAP), and showed that it stimulates an enzyme called gamma secretase that is responsible for producing beta-amyloid. This discovery was published in the September 2 issue of the journal Nature. The process of inhibiting gSAP did not prove toxic to the cells in models of Alzheimer’s disease, a factor that has plagued many other experimental treatments that inhibit beta-amyloid. This discovery therefore opens a new door for research into highly specific anti-amyloid drugs that do not harm the body.

In the more recent study, published in the March 7, 2011 issue of the Journal of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), they succeeded in accelerating the breakdown of beta-amyloid. They discovered that a process called autophagy reduces the buildup of beta-amyloid in isolated cells and might be utilized to eliminate the buildup of beta-amyloid in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Autophagy is a process cells use to "clean out" the debris from their interiors, including unwanted materials such as the protein aggregates that are hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. The scientists discovered that a compound called SMER28 lowers the level of beta-amyloid found in nerve cells. This occurs because SMER28 stimulates autophagy, which then rids the cell of beta-amyloid.

“Our work demonstrates that small molecules can be developed as therapies, by activating autophagy, to prevent Alzheimer’s disease,” says Marc Flajolet, a research assistant professor in Greengard’s lab. “By increasing our understanding of autophagy, it may be possible to stimulate it, pharmacologically or naturally, to improve the quality of life for aging people.”

By, The Alzheimer’s Information Site. Reviewed by William J. Netzer, Ph.D., Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research at The Rockefeller University.

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17 Responses to Fisher Scientists Discover New Ways to Rid Cells of Alzheimer Protein

  1. martha lee says:

    Are you looking for Alzheimer’s suffers to use in testing this new process? My husband Louis is in the later stages. He still functions, but no longer talks and has to wear Depends.
    Martha Lee
    Kilgore, TX 75662

  2. Chris Watson says:

    My husband is 62 and is in early stages and has been for 6 years now,are you looking for volunteers to try this new drug?

  3. chuck bertsch says:

    try lithium

  4. Thank you for this report. I am a 84 year old lady married to an 84 year old man for 60 years.He has this dreaded Alzhimers and I want to say that just reading this report has
    made me feel much better.
    Thank you so much.
    Dorothy Freund

  5. Anna Jiannine says:


  6. Carol Cronk says:

    Great progress report. I am currently on a drug trail in WA through eli Lilly (passive antibidies by infusion four weekly for 18mths. a blind drug trail. I was diagnosed two and a halfe years agao at 62yrs…. I am still funtioning well.. and naturally “deperate” for a cure or a “stopping” of the progression of this disease. I pray for you all that you will grow in knowledge and wisdom by the heavely spirit… FOR SUCCESS… :) thanks for your updates Carol.

  7. habbysanchez says:

    my wife has AlZ,so youn only 55 years old and me and my doughther take care of her, wen i here of news like this I fel happy tha tears till hope, thank for this informacion,GOD bless.

  8. Lison Toshiko Northcott says:

    It’s wonderful if this new found process is realized. Unfortunately, it’s too late for my husband who passed away 7 month ago, but looking forward to hear better news to cure and prevent this awful disease.

  9. ammiche says:

    Mon épouse âgée de 74 ans suit un traitement pour alzheimer depuis 3 ans dans l’attente de nouvelles perspectives qu’offre la recherche.Elle serait éventuellement candidate aux tests car ses médicaments actuels n’ont apporté aucun progrès (aricept+ebixa+zoloft).Que Dieu vous aide dans vos efforts.

  10. ammiche says:

    My wife of 74 years following treatment for Alzheimer’s for 3 years pending new perspectives offered by any candidate would recherche.Elle tests because its current drugs have made ​​no progress (aricept zoloft + + Ebixa) . May God help you in your efforts.

  11. Dr Andrew Sutton says:

    There is another way to break down amyloid and restrict its production (and tau proteins. It is by the proline-rich peptides in colostrum, the most protein rich part of milk. They have worked in 1 clinical trial where treatment was for 30 weeks. See the impressive lab work by Kruzel’s group at UTMB published at JNHA 2009, vol 13,Number 3:235-241. They are available to all without prescription as a nutraceutical called Cognisure in the USA, from a company called Metagenics. Also see website of British company ReGen Therapeutics plc. I think we urgently need further trials of colostrum as it is the only product that has been effective in a well-designed study and is manifestly safe due to its derivation from cows’ milk. Dr Andrew Sutton

  12. siento que existe cuando menos una esperanza de que algún día habrá medicamentos o tratamientos que curen esta terrible enfermedad. Soy un paciente que le diagnosticaron deterioro cognoscitivo (perdida de la memoria)y trastorno obsesivo compulsivo y el tratamiento que tengo es fluoxetina y olanzepina y he avanzado muy poco. Me gustaría apoyar con un poco a esta agrupación, pero de momento no puedo les pido muchas disculpas…

  13. Dave Sheehan says:

    I would be honoured and delighted to participate in the amyloid study! While I herald “Care over Cure” for those like me recently “diagnosed”, I would certainly consider particpating in a study/
    experimentation to help understand how to treat, if that’s the word, plaques! I think I am somewhere in the middle stage, under the new guidlines!Thanks for the update Fisher Scientists!

    • My mother is late moderate, If anyone knows whether there are any therapies(other than aricept,etc.. Make her violently ill) that would help, Please let me know, She is in Alaska, so probably couldn’t travel for trials. Even if we could at least get rid of the combativeness, it would be so helpful

  14. My husband has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. However, medication has not given any positive results. He seems to get better whenever the drugs are suspended.
    We live in Brazil in a small town 180 km from Rio de Janeiro.
    He was first prescribed Eranz which had horrible effect on him. Then Exellon Patch, however, he is better without the patch. I’m lost as to wether he REALLY suffers from this disease…. Any suggestions?

  15. Glenda Jones says:

    My mother and her sisters suffered from Alzheimers–my mother for 15 years
    We know the dreadful results. My sister
    and I along with my cousins live with
    the fear of genetics. We certainly hope
    that a cure is found soon as we and our
    children are next. We entered the research
    in Texas a few years ago and never heard
    anything in that research. Please keep us informed. Bless the caregivers. They are truly angels as was my dad for all 15 years at home.

  16. angela vanoven says:

    Hi im Angela im 46 my mom was diagnosed wit alz at age69,though it had been coming on 4 sometime before ,she is just 73 and they say now that alz, is hereditary, my mom is 1st in her family 2 have it.if its a mutation in gene how can i find out if i have it.i have read that now a blood test can determine mom is stage 5,6 she still continent and very mobile. recognizes me by sight immediately sometime i her dau.or sister im so confused ive read so much on this and on all theories can some1 please help please.

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