Posted on Feb 10, 2019, 7 p.m.
Rice University research reveals that a low cost light therapy may effectively help eliminate amyloid beta proteins which are precursors to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as published in the journal Chem.
Beta amyloid accumulation leads to the development of cognitive disorders, thus far drugs designed to target these proteins have not shown relative efficacy. The researchers developed an optic probe that glows over 100 times more brightly when it detects fiber or fibrils of amyloid beta proteins; the concentrated light then oxidizes the fibers to prevent them from accumulating in the brain and affecting patient cognitive ability, and a specific binding site for the harmful proteins was identified which may pave the way for new drug treatments.
There is now a better understanding of what the molecules need to interact with the fibrils to make them bond; if the complexes can be modified so they absorb red light which is transparent to tissue, these photochemical modifications may be able to be conducted in living animals and one day in humans.
The rhenium complex cannot be seen, but they can find the oxidation footprint that it produces on the amyloid peptide that only happens right next to the place where it binds. This work is important as it provided to a high degree of certainty where molecules can interact with amyloid beta fibril, and allows us to imagine that it may be possible to someday prevent symptoms of AD by targeting these fibril in much like the same way cholesterol is treated to prevent CVD.
Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to affect nearly 44 million people around the globe, according to the Alzheimer’s Statistics website, which also suggests that only 1 in 4 patients get diagnosed. AD appears to be most prevalent in Western Europe with a total global cost association of $605 billion, which equates to 1% of the entire world’s gross domestic product.
Statistics show 5.3 million Americans suffer from the brain wasting disease, and the rate is projected to climb to 16 million by 2020 unless a breakthrough is found. Citizens aged 85+ are expected to account for as much as 7 million projected cases in 2050. Findings show that African Americans have the highest prevalence of AD among those aged 85+, followed by Hispanics and Caucasians.
Alzheimer’s disease was noted to be the 6th leading causes of death within the USA. 1 in 3 seniors die of this disease, of which the average life expectancy after diagnosis is between 4-8 years. Since 2016 the USA alone has spent around $236 billion on Alzheimer’s disease care.
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