NEW YORK (Dispatches) -- An experimental drug has reversed key symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in mice, according to researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
The drug works by reinvigorating a cellular cleaning mechanism that gets rid of unwanted proteins by digesting and recycling them.
Co-study leader Ana Maria Cuervo, M.D., Ph.D.,Cuervo and her team developed a novel drug that shows potential for treating Alzheimer’s. “We know that chaperone-mediated autophagy( CMA) is capable of digesting defective tau and other proteins,” said Dr. Cuervo. “But the sheer amount of defective protein in Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases overwhelms (CMA) and essentially cripples it. Our drug revitalizes CMA efficiency by boosting levels of a key CMA component.”
In CMA, proteins called chaperones bind to damaged or defective proteins in cells of the body. The chaperones ferry their cargo to the cells’ lysosomes -- membrane-bound organelles filled with enzymes, which digest and recycle waste material.