Researchers Uncover New Target for Alzheimer’s Disease Drugs

Researchers Uncover New Target for Alzheimer’s Disease Drugs
In a recent study published in the online version of Journal of Biological Chemistry scientists reported to have found a new target molecule that will help the fight against Alzheimer's disease. The study is entitled, “The Spleen Tyrosine Kinase (syk) Regulates Alzheimer's Aβ Production and Tau Hyperphosphorylation”. In this study, scientists at the Roskamp Institute, while trying to understand the mode of action of an anti-hypertensive drug – Nilvadipine – realized that this compound reduced amyloid protein accumulation, a key event in neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease. Additionally, the drug also ameliorated neuro inflammation and had a positive effect over the tau protein, another protein that together with amyloid causes damage and eventual death of nerve cells in the brain. The team performed further studies to understand which molecule was being targeted by the drug, and found it to be the SYK protein. Daniel Paris, Ph.D., neurobiologist and study lead author, noted, "These studies suggest there is a single drug target to inhibit all the three key pathologies of Alzheimer's disease." Michael Mullan, M.D., Ph.D., study leading author added, "Our studies have revealed that the spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) enzyme is at a crossroad from which all three of the brain abnormalities known to be associated with Alzheimer's disease diverge. Hopefully, academic or industry researchers can now develop new drugs to inhibit SYK which are suitable for clinical trials in Alzheimer's disease." The authors performed further studies, and Dr. Paris showed that by blocking SYK activity, this protein is responsible for the three hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease — inflammation, accumulation of amyloid protein, and modulation of the 'tau' prote
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