by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – In ground-breaking research that may prove vital to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s in humans, Israeli neuroscientists have been able to completely cure 30 mice with the disease by giving them a synthetic molecule that might eventually be developed into a drug for people, the Times of Israel (TOI) reports.
The peer-reviewed research has been published in the Translational Neurodegeneration journal, led by neuroscientists at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba, Israel.
In a break with traditional efforts at finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, the Israeli scientists focused on mitochondrial dysfunction rather than on the common approach of seeking to prevent the buildup of protein fragments between nerve cells in the brain believed to cause the disease, TOI reports.
Israeli researchers are seeking to normalize mitochondrial activity by countering the harmful effects of a build-up of the protein called VDAC1.
“Most are trying to address plaque that forms in the brain, but we are addressing dysfunction elsewhere, lead author Prof. Varda Shoshan-Barmatz told The Times of Israel.
“And we’re optimistic. Mice who had Alzheimer’s and received our molecule and then underwent tests had the same cognitive abilities as mice who’d never had Alzheimer’s.”
“In our research, we have shifted the focus of Alzheimer’s treatments from the plaque to this protein, which is produced in the nerve cells around the plaque instead,” Shoshan-Barmatz said. “We prevent this protein from causing cell death, as the molecule interferes with its harmful effects.”
The researchers have emphasized that testing on humans is still a long way off and that the sample of mice they worked with was small, TOI reports. However, the team believes that within a decade, their synthetic molecule may be developed as a cure for humans with Alzheimer’s.
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