We’re finally winning the fight against cancer. Will we beat Alzheimer’s next?
It’s been one hundred years since Alzheimer’s disease was first described, and yet our best treatments in development for the disease are still highly toxic drugs. But new research has identified a target, called casein kinase 1, that may be responsible for the disease. They?ve discovered chemicals that block casein kinase 1 don’t interfere with a closely connected essential pathway in the brain.
Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a build-up of a small protein called beta-amyloid, which is formed when a larger protein is broken into pieces. But the enzyme that produces beta-amyloid is also responsible for another essential brain protein called Notch. The problem with current drugs is that they block these enzymes to stop production of beta-amyloid, and in doing so they also block Notch, which plays an important role in the development of healthy brain cells.
The new research, based on studies by Marc Flajolet and Paul Greengard, has identified another protein, casein kinase 1, that controls the regulation of these enzymes. When the researchers block casein kinase 1, production of beta-amyloid proteins goes down, but Notch signaling is not affected.
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