MINNEAPOLIS -- Important new research is being conducted in the fight against Alzheimer's and it comes from researchers in Minnesota.
It's been ten years in the making, but researchers at the University of Minnesota think they might have figured out what is causing neurons in an Alzheimer's brain from communicating to each other. Tau, a protein, found in neurons gets cut off by a naturally occurring enzyme called Caspase-2.
It's a discovery, lead researcher Dr. Karen Ashe says, getting us closer to restoring cognition in Alzheimer's patients.
“We’ve identified a target that could be utilized to develop new treatments to restore communication between neurons within the brain,” said Dr. Ashe, M.D., Ph.D and U of M professor, Department of Neurology in a news release.
"If you can prevent Caspase-2 from cutting Tau, then the connections between neurons repair themselves and the neurons can communicate again and the brain begins to work again," said Dr. Ashe.
The next step, creating a pill that prevents or reduces Caspace-2 which could take another ten years or so before it's ready for consumers.
“This is a significant step forward in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss,” Ashe said. “Next, we hope to collaborate with our colleagues in drug development to translate this towards care, with the hope to help improve and preserve the quality of life for those struggling with memory-related conditions.”
The research is published in the current issue of Nature Medicine.