A team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Cenna Biosciences, Inc. were able to identify in mice, compounds that inhibit the production of beta amyloid peptides. The results published in the journal PLOS ONE may offer a potential early intervention for patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) If these results are also achieved in humans, a peptide dubbed P8 could offer new potential drug candidates for the treatment of patients at risk of AD with few adverse effects, due to the compound's highly specific mechanism of action. "Our approach is completely different from any current approaches that target beta amyloid," said lead author Nazneen Dewji, PhD, associate adjunct professor in the Department of Medicine. "We are blocking the actual production of beta amyloid in a new way. It's very promising because it means that, in principle, we can stop the disease in its tracks." The molecular pathology of the disease includes the production and accumulation of beta amyloid plaques (Aβ) in the brain causing irreversible memory as well as cognitive and motor impairments. Aβ is the major neurotoxic agent in the initiation of AD, and it is a set of 39–43 amino acid oligopeptides, each of which is proteolytically cleaved from its precursor protein, APP. Several investigational drugs have targeted the enzymes that cleave beta amyloid from APP. "These drugs, however, have largely failed in clinical trials,"