The Power of Targeting

If you've been following along, you'll recall that many of the most interesting biotechnology demonstrations in recent years work because they target very specific parts of the cell. For example, targeting antioxidants to the mitochondria extends life in mice where straightforward application of antioxidants does not. Here, the Telegraph reports on a related approach for an Alzheimer's therapy: hitting a part of the disease mechanism that's already been tried, but this time localizing the action of the drug to a specific structure within the cell. "The drug targets the membrane of brain cells, focusing on compartments in the membrane, called 'rafts', that play a central role in many cellular processes. Although this drug is not the first to target the enzyme, called beta secretase, it is the first to do so in the right place, in the 'intracellular membrane compartment' where the enzyme triggers the protein deposit build-ups. The team has devised a way to anchor the drug to the membrane to stop the harmful deposits."


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