Monday, 12 December 2011
New antibodies to combat Alzheimer`s
Researchers have hit upon a surprisingly new method to make antibodies to neutralize harmful protein particles behind Alzheimer`s disease.
Antibodies are large proteins produced by the immune system to combat infection and disease. They comprise a large Y-shaped protein topped with small peptide (also protein) loops.
These loops bind to harmful invaders in the body, such as a virus or bacteria, the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reports.
Only a very specific combination of antibody loops will bind each target, permitting the immune system to destroy the invader. It can make all the difference between death and recovery.
The new antibody design process was used to create antibodies that target a devastating molecule in the body: the Alzheimer`s protein.
The research, led by Peter Tessier, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic, uses the same molecular interactions that cause the Alzheimer`s proteins to stick together and form the toxic particles.
"By binding to specific portions of the toxic protein, we could test hypotheses about how to prevent or reverse cellular toxicity linked to Alzheimer`s disease," said Tessier, according to a Rensselaer statement.
The new Alzheimer`s antibodies developed by Tessier and colleagues only latched on to the harmful clumped proteins and not the harmless monomers or single peptides that are not associated with disease.