A new Alzheimer’s monoclonal antibody treatment shows promising results: ‘Hopefully more effective approach’

A new Alzheimer’s disease monoclonal antibody treatment that takes aim at a new target for the progressive disease has shown promising results, according to Boston researchers.

The Mass General Brigham treatment strategy mimics a genetic mutation that’s resistant to the neurodegenerative disease. In the study, the treatment was reportedly effective at reducing abnormal tau proteins associated with Alzheimer’s.

The research team from Mass Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital developed this monoclonal antibody treatment as a follow-up to their work when they identified a genetic variant in the APOE Christchurch gene that provides extreme resistance against Alzheimer’s.

To turn those gene findings into a potential treatment, the researchers have now developed antibodies that could target interactions between APOE and proteins.

They found that one antibody, called 7C11, could lead to resistance to Alzheimer’s. Their therapy, tested in mice, resulted in a reduction of abnormal tau proteins found in their brains and retinas.

“Our 7C11 antibody was able to target interactions responsible for a major genetic risk factor for sporadic Alzheimer’s,” said co-corresponding author Joseph Arboleda-Velasquez, an associate scientist in the Department of Ophthalmology at Mass Eye and Ear.

“Our findings point to an alternative and hopefully more effective approach to existing treatments and those in clinical trials that focus on reducing amyloid plaques, and ultimately may lead to disease-modifying therapies for various other neurodegenerative conditions,” Arboleda-Velasquez added.

Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health recently awarded a $13.7 million grant to Boston University researchers investigating the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers hope to identify new targets for developing drugs to treat or slow processes leading to the disease.

The Boston University Chobanian and Avedisian School of Medicine researchers are using whole genome sequencing and other approaches to identify genetic factors for Alzheimer’s disease in Jews currently living in Israel — who trace their ancestors to southern Spain and locations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Arab citizens of Israel.

“In this project, we will leverage the genetic architecture of MENA Jews and Arab citizens of Israel as well as their distinctive environmental exposures and lifestyles, to promote discovery of AD-related genes and variants,” said Lindsay Farrer, chief of biomedical genetics and distinguished professor of genetics. “We expect that this project will identify novel targets for development of effective drugs to treat or retard processes leading to AD.”

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