Genetic Engineering Combats Alzheimer’s | AIChE

Genetic Engineering Combats Alzheimer’s


Many proposed treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have failed to show benefits in clinical trials. Drugs that target β-amyloid proteins, which aggregate and form plaques in the brains of patients with AD, have not succeeded in alleviating AD symptoms, leading some researchers to pursue other lines of attack.

A protein called tau offers a better target, says Susanne Wegmann, a researcher at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases. Tau proteins can aggregate into tangles and can interact with β-amyloid, creating toxic conditions in the brain. High levels of tau are correlated with the death of neurons, damage to the synapses that connect neurons, and a decline in cognitive function. “That’s why we’re interested in reducing tau in the brain as a therapy,” says Wegmann.

In a recent study, Wegmann and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital and Sangamo Therapeutics described a way to reduce the levels of tau ...

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