ICYMI Medical News: Alzheimer’s Research Breakthrough Discoveries

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“A drug company specializing in the development of therapies for degenerative disorders said Wednesday its researchers have identified a bacterial pathogen responsible for the rapid growth of Alzheimer’s disease: Gingivitis, and they’ve created a treatment to neutralize its effect on the brain,” Courthouse News reported.

Dominy said in a statement that while infectious agents have been implicated in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in the past, there has been little evidence to show what specific pathogen causes neurodegeneration.

“Now, for the first time, we have solid evidence connecting the intracellular, Gram-negative pathogen, Pg [Porphyromonas gingivalis], and Alzheimer’s pathogenesis while also demonstrating the potential for a class of small molecule therapies to change the trajectory of disease,” said Dominy.

Courthouse News

ScienceDaily summarizes the research, saying that “new science uncovers how an unlikely culprit, Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg) — the bacterium commonly associated with chronic gum disease — appears to drive Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology.”

University of Louisville researcher Jan Potempa, Ph.D., Department of Oral Immunology and Infectious Diseases in the School of Dentistry, was part of the team of international scientists led by Cortexyme Inc., a privately held, clinical-stage pharmaceutical company.

According to Potempa, although infectious agents have been implicated in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease, the evidence of causation hasn’t been convincing.

However, “we now have strong evidence connecting P. gingivalis and Alzheimer’s pathogenesis, but more research needs to be done before P. gingivalis is explicitly implicated in the causation or morbidity of AD.

“An even more notable aspect of this study is demonstration of the potential for a class of molecule therapies targeting major virulence factors to change the trajectory of AD, which seems to be epidemiologically and clinically associated with periodontitis,” Potempa said.

ScienceDaily; Source: University of Louisville

Porphyromonas gingivalis in Alzheimer’s disease brains: Evidence for disease causation and treatment with small-molecule inhibitors; Published: Science Advances 23 Jan 2019.

“Science Advances is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.”

In other news on Alzheimer’s research, “scientists have shown that a protein found in the blood can be used to precisely monitor disease progression of Alzheimer’s long before first clinical signs appear. This blood marker offers new possibilities for testing therapies.”

According to research reported by ScienceDaily, Early prediction of Alzheimer’s progression: Blood protein, “years before symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease manifest, the brain starts changing and neurons are slowly degraded. Scientists at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research (HIH) and the University Hospital Tuebingen now show that a protein found in the blood can be used to precisely monitor disease progression long before first clinical signs appear. This blood marker offers new possibilities for testing therapies. The study was carried out in cooperation with an international research team and published in the journal Nature Medicine.”

“The fact that there is still no effective treatment for Alzheimer’s is partly because current therapies start much too late,” says Mathias Jucker, a senior researcher at the DZNE’s Tuebingen site and at the HIH. He headed the current study. In order to develop better treatments, scientists therefore need reliable methods to monitor and predict the course of the disease before symptoms such as memory changes occur. A blood test is better suited for this than e. g. expensive brain scans.

Recently, there was some progress in the development of such blood tests. Most of them are based on so-called amyloid proteins. In Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid proteins accumulate in the brain and also occur in the blood. However, Jucker and his colleagues take a different approach. “Our blood test does not look at the amyloid, but at what it does in the brain, namely neurodegeneration. In other words, we look at the death of neurons,” says Jucker.

ScienceDaily; Source: DZNE – German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases

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