Most Alzheimer’s drug research focuses on the peptide clusters, known as senile plaques, that are commonly found in the patient’s brain. Plaques are toxic to the surrounding tissue, but researchers don’t know why or how the peptides cluster together. Researchers at McMaster University theorized that certain compounds might affect the surrounding brain tissue in a way that could prevent plaque formation, or perhaps even break up existing clusters.
To test their theory, the research team first created a synthetic membrane to simulate brain tissue and then measured the effects of three different compounds: melatonin, acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) and curcumin. ASA resulted in larger clusters and melatonin had no effect, but curcumin shrank existing clusters and prevented the formation of new ones. Their results demonstrate that the surrounding brain tissue plays an important role. The next step for the researchers is to patent their discovery. “What we’ve created with the synthetic membranes is Alzheimer’s on a chip which means we can test drugs on that chip before clinic trials,” said team member Maikel Rheinstädter. “We need drugs that are thoroughly tested so we can weed out those that don’t do anything before we use them on people.”
SOURCE: Canadian Light Source, September 10, 2018
DATE Retrieved: September 12, 2018