Sunday, March 16, 2008

New Drug Holds Promise for Combating Alzheimer's


clipped from www.sciam.com

A key feature of a number of diseases�most noticeably Alzheimer's�is the presence of so-called amyloid deposits comprised of insoluble clumps of proteins that kill surrounding cells. A naturally occurring protein present in the bloodstream known as serum amyloid P component (SAP) aids these plaques in destroying healthy tissue by binding to the amyloid fibers and preventing the body from breaking them down. Findings published today in the journal Nature suggest that a drug designed to thwart the action of SAP holds promise for treating human amyloid diseases.


Mark Pepys of the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London and his colleagues targeted SAP with a new drug called CPHPC.
Says Pepys, "Although amyloid deposits are closely related with Alzheimer's disease and maturity onset diabetes, it is not known whether they actually cause these diseases." Whether CPHPC can combat the memory-robbing disease is the focus of clinical trials set to start this year.
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