Published On: Thu, Oct 6th, 2016

Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Made By Israel’s Tel Aviv University

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A major breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimer’s has been announced by Israeli researches at Tel Aviv University.

Alzheimer’s is possibly the most insidious disease afflicting people throughout the world today. Unlike AIDS and cancer, which are both fatal, Alzheimer’s only kills after slowly destroying a person’s mind. Sufferers forget friends and family and do not form new memories.

The new Alzheimer’s treatment has to do with a gene called APOE which doctors believe is related to the disease. Apparently APOE3 is healthy, but a form of the gene called APOE4 is not and can cause Alzheimer’s. Scientists have succeeded in manipulating this gene in test mice.

The team at Tel Aviv University believes that it will be possible to change the “Mr. Hyde” form of the APOE gene APOE4 into the “Dr. Jekyll” form APOE3.

If you understand all of that then you must be a doctor. But for people who suffer from Alzheimer’s, know someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s or fear getting the disease the way in which any treatment works is wholly irrelevant. People just want a cure. The same can be said of cancer or AIDS research.

The research was led by Prof. Daniel M. Michaelson, Director of the Eichenbaum Laboratory of Alzheimer’s Disease Research and incumbent of the Myriam Lebach Chair in Molecular Neurodegeneration at TAU’s Faculty of Life Sciences, together with Anat Boehm-Cagan, the Eleanore and Harold Foonberg Doctoral Fellow in Alzheimers Disease Research, and in collaboration with the commercial company Artery Ltd., based in California.

Professor Michaelson said in a statement, “APOE4 is a very important and understudied target. It is expressed in more than 60 percent of Alzheimer’s patients. Anti-APOE4 treatments are thus expected to have a major impact on the patient population.

“The normal APOE gene provides the interface that moves lipids — naturally occurring molecules that include fats, cholesterol, fat-soluble vitamins and other components essential to the health of cells — in and out of cells, ” Prof. Michaelson continued. “Whereas the healthy APOE3 does so effectively, the bad form — APOE4 — is impaired.”

Unfortunately we should not expect a cure anytime soon. This only marks a step forward in the research, but a huge one nonetheless.

“Is there really a magic bullet? One treatment that covers all aspects of Alzheimer’s? Not likely, ” said Prof. Michaelson. “Therefore there is a need to define specific subpopulations and to develop treatments targeted at genetic risk factors of the disease, like APOE4, which affects more than half of the Alzheimer’s population.”

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