A new study reveals a protein may protect against Alzheimer‘s disease and fight related symptoms. Learn how it affects the disease and what it’s discovery means for future treatment options.
Researchers from The Scripps Research University recently conducted a study that revealed anti-Alzheimer’s properties in the protein transthyretin (TTR). TTR, a protein that produces in the liver and some areas of the brain, transports Vitamin A and the hormone thyrozine through the blood. The study showed that the protein can bind beta-amyloid proteins together and ultimately lessen the amount of the hallmark protein in those with Alzheimer’s, in the brain.
Researchers began looking at the protein for its memory boosting properties in the mid-1990s. Early studies, reportedly using mice and test tubes, showed that the protein did protect against other amyloids.
Lead researcher and TSRI Professor Joel N. Buxbaum, MD, did not believe the reports, so he gathered resources to do this own study and look at the Alzheimer’s fighting protein genetically. Buxbaum’s findings supported prior research. He says,
“This result was completely unexpected when we started this research… But now we realize that it could indicate a new approach for Alzheimer’s prevention and therapy.”
Currently, one in nine Americans over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s and by 2050, as many as 7 million people over the age of 85 could have the disease.
The search is on for a cure, but Buxbaum and fellow researchers acknowledge that more work needs to be done before using TTR in human treatment plans. Though, they do hope that the Alzheimer’s fighting properties of TTR can be captured in pill form and used to treat those with the disease.
What do you think about the possibility of using TTR to treat Alzheimer’s? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.