An investigational antibody effectively targeted toxic protein aggregation in the brain of a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, improving memory and cognitive functions in the animals. University of the Witwatersrand researchers are now planning Phase 1 of human clinical trials with 30 to 50 volunteers who have Alzheimer’s. If the results are positive, the team hopes to get regulatory approval on a nasal spray containing the specific antibody. The study, “LRP/LR specific antibody IgG1-iS18 impedes neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease mice” was published at Oncotarget. “If we can slow down the progression of the disease, we can dramatically improve the quality of life for patients, as well as extend their lifespan,” Stefan Weiss, lead researcher and professor at the Faculty of Science at Wits University, said in a news release. Laminin receptor, also known as LRP/LR, is an important protein that establishes the contact between cells and their exterior environment. It can transport several components into cells, including viruses, proteins, and beta-amyloid molecules — a hallmark biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that LRP/LR can also interact with important proteins implicated in the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease. “With the anti-LRP/LR specific antibody, there is the potential to actually target the protein clumping and stop the formation of amyloid plaque,” Weiss said. Given the important role of LRP/LR, researchers developed IgG1-iS18, an engineered antibody that can effectively bind and block this receptor's activity. To test IgG1-iS18's therapeutic potential, researchers administered the antibody nasally, twice a week for eight weeks, in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.