Scientists present new antibody drug for the treatment of Alzheimer's
Millions of people around the world suffer from dementia and so far they can only be given inadequate help. Researchers are therefore working intensively on the development of possible new treatment methods. Scientists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have now tested a new antibody drug against Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia and is incurable so far. Together with researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI and Probiodrug AG, the scientists at MLU have now investigated a new approach to Alzheimer's treatment using a special antibody drug. Their results were published in the journal "Journal of Biological Chemistry".
Harmful deposits in the brain
Although the mechanism of Alzheimer's disease has not yet been fully deciphered, a connection with harmful deposits (plaques) in the brain is considered extremely likely. "A specially modified type of beta-amyloid peptide is particularly dangerous," emphasizes Professor Dr. Milton T. Stubbs from the Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the MLU. Due to their structure, these peptides clump very quickly and then deposit in the brain, the expert continues.
New active substances against the deposits in the brain
The hopes for new treatment options for Alzheimer's are often based on approaches that contribute to reducing plaque formation in the brain or even to dissolving it. Here, the company Probiodrug had developed a small-molecule active substance some time ago, which in the first trials with Alzheimer's patients achieved promising results, according to the MLU. The drug inhibited the formation of the modified peptide and its deposits in the brain.
Targeted action against harmful peptides
In the current study, the scientists pursued this approach further and developed a new antibody active ingredient that is only supposed to work if the dangerous peptides have already been formed in the body. First of all, detailed knowledge of the structure of the peptides and how they can be recognized by the antibody was required. “If we know the structure of the peptide, we can develop the antibodies so that they only attack this one substance,” explains Prof. Stubbs
Like a vacuum cleaner for the brain
According to Professor Dr. Hans-Ulrich Demuth, head of the Fraunhofer IZI MWT Halle, made it clear in the further investigations, "that the new active ingredient is well suited to precisely identify the harmful peptide structures, which should lead to fewer side effects." Co-author Dr . Inge Lues, Chief Development Officer at Probiodrug, adds: "You can think of it like a vacuum cleaner that removes the substances from the system." Like a vaccination, the antibody can be injected into people. The preclinical and clinical development of the new antibody is carried out by Probiodrug AG.
In their study, science also described the detailed structure of the harmful beta-amyloid peptide for the first time. In simple terms, this shows the shape of a boxing glove and the striking structure could also explain why this form of Alzheimer's peptide compounds clumps so quickly, reports the MLU.