Potential Alzheimer's Disease Treatment Discovered in Wales, UK

Cardiff University Researchers Find Antibody That Could Block Disease



Dec 21, 2006, 00:00 ET from International Business Wales

    CARDIFF, Wales, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- An antibody with the potential
 to block production of the brain chemical linked to Alzheimer's disease has
 been developed by researchers at Cardiff University in Wales, UK. The
 research is published today in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
     There is no known cure or preventative treatment for Alzheimer's
 disease, a debilitating illness affecting one in 20 people over the age of
 65 and one in five over the age of 80 in the UK. Worldwide, the disease
 afflicts more than 12 million people. Alzheimer's causes a distressing,
 irreversible and progressive loss of brain function and memory.
     A team led by Dr. Emma Kidd at Cardiff University's Welsh School of
 Pharmacy made the discovery during research funded by the Alzheimer's
 Society, the UK's leading care and research charity for Alzheimer's disease
 and other types of dementia.
     The results of the study show that it is possible to decrease
 production of a small protein called *-amyloid (A*), which is believed to
 be the main cause of the disease. Deposits of A* build up in the brain,
 preventing it from functioning properly.
     The team has developed an antibody that binds to a naturally occurring
 protein in the brain, amyloid precursor protein (APP), preventing the
 production of A*. The antibody blocks the access to APP of an enzyme,
 b-secretase, crucial for the formation of Ab.
     "Our results are highly encouraging at this stage," Dr. Kidd said. "We
 believe that our approach could lead in time to a new therapy for this
 distressing and debilitating disease as it should prevent or reduce the
 irreversible deterioration of a patient's memory and other brain functions.
 This would also reduce the burden on caretakers, usually family members,
 who look after patients in the earlier stages of the disease," she said.
     "We also believe it is possible that our antibody could be used as a
 preventative treatment to protect people at high risk of Alzheimer's
 Disease through their family history or other factors," she said.
     The work funded by the Alzheimer's Society research program, Quality
 Research In Dementia, was conducted on cultured cells in the laboratory.
 The team believes that a form of the antibody could be used as a treatment
 to reduce A* build-up in the brain, improving the patient's memory and
 quality of life. Any development of the antibody as a drug will take
 several years. The team is in the process of seeking funding for the next
 stage of development of the antibody.
     The charity's Quality Research in Dementia program is led and steered
 by caretakers and people with dementia, who set the priorities. This
 ensures that funding only goes to projects with a potential for high impact
 on the lives of people with dementia and their caretakers.
     Professor Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer's
 Society said: "We are thrilled to have been able to fund this innovative
 work. As a charity we rely on donations from the public and we hope people
 will understand how important it is to invest more in research into all
 types of dementia so that we eventually may have a selection of new
 treatments to change the lives of people with dementia and their
 caretakers."
     The Alzheimer's Society
     * The Alzheimer's Society is the UK's leading care and research charity
 for people with dementia and their caretakers. www.alzheimers.org.uk
 
 

SOURCE International Business Wales
    CARDIFF, Wales, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- An antibody with the potential
 to block production of the brain chemical linked to Alzheimer's disease has
 been developed by researchers at Cardiff University in Wales, UK. The
 research is published today in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
     There is no known cure or preventative treatment for Alzheimer's
 disease, a debilitating illness affecting one in 20 people over the age of
 65 and one in five over the age of 80 in the UK. Worldwide, the disease
 afflicts more than 12 million people. Alzheimer's causes a distressing,
 irreversible and progressive loss of brain function and memory.
     A team led by Dr. Emma Kidd at Cardiff University's Welsh School of
 Pharmacy made the discovery during research funded by the Alzheimer's
 Society, the UK's leading care and research charity for Alzheimer's disease
 and other types of dementia.
     The results of the study show that it is possible to decrease
 production of a small protein called *-amyloid (A*), which is believed to
 be the main cause of the disease. Deposits of A* build up in the brain,
 preventing it from functioning properly.
     The team has developed an antibody that binds to a naturally occurring
 protein in the brain, amyloid precursor protein (APP), preventing the
 production of A*. The antibody blocks the access to APP of an enzyme,
 b-secretase, crucial for the formation of Ab.
     "Our results are highly encouraging at this stage," Dr. Kidd said. "We
 believe that our approach could lead in time to a new therapy for this
 distressing and debilitating disease as it should prevent or reduce the
 irreversible deterioration of a patient's memory and other brain functions.
 This would also reduce the burden on caretakers, usually family members,
 who look after patients in the earlier stages of the disease," she said.
     "We also believe it is possible that our antibody could be used as a
 preventative treatment to protect people at high risk of Alzheimer's
 Disease through their family history or other factors," she said.
     The work funded by the Alzheimer's Society research program, Quality
 Research In Dementia, was conducted on cultured cells in the laboratory.
 The team believes that a form of the antibody could be used as a treatment
 to reduce A* build-up in the brain, improving the patient's memory and
 quality of life. Any development of the antibody as a drug will take
 several years. The team is in the process of seeking funding for the next
 stage of development of the antibody.
     The charity's Quality Research in Dementia program is led and steered
 by caretakers and people with dementia, who set the priorities. This
 ensures that funding only goes to projects with a potential for high impact
 on the lives of people with dementia and their caretakers.
     Professor Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer's
 Society said: "We are thrilled to have been able to fund this innovative
 work. As a charity we rely on donations from the public and we hope people
 will understand how important it is to invest more in research into all
 types of dementia so that we eventually may have a selection of new
 treatments to change the lives of people with dementia and their
 caretakers."
     The Alzheimer's Society
     * The Alzheimer's Society is the UK's leading care and research charity
 for people with dementia and their caretakers. www.alzheimers.org.uk
 
 SOURCE International Business Wales