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Protein may prevent Alzheimer's onset

27th April 2006

Scientists from Canada claim to have found a protein that can prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers from the University of Toronto believe that the TMP21 protein can prevent the formation of the Abeta protein in the brain, thought to be responsible for the disease that was first discovered in 1906.

The findings, reported in the latest issue of Nature, indicate that unlike other substances that are believed to block or hinder the development of Abeta, TMP21 does not cause significant side effects elsewhere in the brain.

"This is the starting block of something that could be tremendous," commented co-author Professor Peter St George-Hyslop.

"We now have a clean and direct way to inhibit the production of Abeta by the presenilin complex with potentially no side effects. This could be the blueprint for the development of a drug to treat the disease."

Alzheimer's is believed to affect one in ten people over the age of 65.