Producing Antibodies to Combat Alzheimer's Disease

Via EurekAlert!: researcher have "developed a new method to design antibodies aimed at combating disease. The surprisingly simple process was used to make antibodies that neutralize the harmful protein particles that lead to Alzheimer's disease. ... Antibodies are large proteins produced by the immune system to combat infection and disease. ... Scientists have long sought methods for designing antibodies to combat specific ailments. However, the incredible complexity of designing antibodies that only attached to a target molecule of interest has prevented scientists from realizing this ambitious goal. When trying to design an antibody, the arrangement and sequence of the antibody loops is of utmost importance. Only a very specific combination of antibody loops will bind to and neutralize each target. ... The new antibody design process was used to create antibodies that target a devastating molecule in the body: the Alzheimer's protein. ... We are actually exploiting the same protein interactions that cause the disease in the brain to mediate binding of antibodies to toxic Alzheimer's protein particles ... Alzheimer's disease is due to a specific protein - the Alzheimer's protein - sticking together to form protein particles. These particles then damage the normal, healthy functions of the brain. The formation of similar toxic protein particles is central to diseases such as Parkinson's and mad cow disease. Importantly, the new Alzheimer's antibodies [only] latched on to the harmful clumped proteins and not the harmless monomers or single peptides that are not associated with disease. [Researchers] see the potential for their technique being used to target and better understand similar types of protein particles in disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-12/rpi-rda120911.php

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