Facing incredible odds, scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created an antibody that binds exclusively to the toxic proteins that hallmark Alzheimer’s disease. These toxic proteins, which are similar to ones found in Parkinson’s and mad cow disease, damage otherwise healthy brain cells. The researchers’ approach was unique in that they used “the same molecular interactions that cause the Alzheimer’s proteins to stick together and form the toxic particles.”
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What’s the Big Idea?
Antibodies are the scouts of the immune system, sent on search missions for invasive bacteria or viruses. Once found, they latch on and wait for other cells to arrive to help in destroying the invaders. “In the long term, as scientists learn more about methods to deliver drugs into the extremely well-protected brain tissue, the new antibody research may also help to develop new drugs to combat disorders besides Alzheimer’s disease.”