New Approach To Attacking Alzheimer's Disease Studied

ave shown that BChE levels are increased in the beta-amyloid plaques which form in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease and that BChE amplifies plaque toxicity.

"These facts suggest," write the researchers, "that inappropriate BChE activity increases the risk and/or progression of Alzheimer's disease." What else it does, however, is unclear. People with a genetic lack of BChE activity seem to get along just fine, so scientists hope that side effects will be minimal. In fact, Greig thinks "one can inhibit BChE completely and there will not be any toxic effects," even though he says their new inhibitors do not permanently disable the enzyme.

The authors, who include University of North Carolina scientists, say preliminary studies indicate that their BChE inhibitors improve cognition and learning in rodents. They have now teamed with the newly formed biopharmaceutical company Axonyx Incorporated in New York, New York. The researchers hope, within the next 18-24 months, to develop a lead compound that can be tested in patients with Alzheimer's disease.


Contact: Charmayne Marsh
American Chemical Society

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