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Advances in Alzheimer’s disease: the Beta-Amyloid Protein

Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that affects an estimated 5.5 million Americans, is becoming more mysterious than ever. This progressive disorder destroys the memories of a person typically above the age of 65. Symptoms of this devastating disorder include mental decline, confusion, disorientation, and more.

As impossible as it might seem, scientists are making progress in developing drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease. One promising target for a future drug is the amyloid-beta protein. This protein is commonly found in the amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s patients after being fragmented by two specific proteins: beta-secretase and gamma-secretase. Scientists are working to target this protein as a potential therapy for Alzheimer’s. One method includes blocking the activity of the beta-secretase enzyme; another method prevents the beta-amyloid protein from gathering and forming plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

A specific drug that is currently being developed to target the beta-amyloid protein is called Solanezumab. This drug is designed to lower the level of the beta-amyloid protein and prevent the formation of plaque in the brain. Studies have shown that this drug has improved the cognitive abilities of several Alzheimer patients.

Although Alzheimer’s is a very foreign neurological disorder, advances in research will carve a pathway to a cure.

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Edited by: Kathleen Frost, Ruby Halfacre, and Shreya Singireddy