Researchers around the world have been working tirelessly to create a new treatment for Alzheimer's disease, which currently cannot be cured or even delayed.
However, new research out of the Mayo Clinic in Florida could be giving sufferers and their families some hope. Scientists are suggesting that the enzyme BACE2 has the potential to destroy beta-amyloid, a protein fragment associated with Alzheimer's. The study's authors are hopeful this new discovery may pave the way in Alzheimer's care.
"The fact that BACE2 can lower beta-amyloid by two distinct mechanisms makes this enzyme an especially attractive candidate for gene therapy to treat Alzheimer's disease," said first author Dr. Samer Abdul-Hay, a neuroscientist at the Mayo Clinic in Florida.
The researchers noted that BACE2 is closely related to BACE1, which is interesting given that the latter has been known to produce beta-amyloid.
"Despite their close similarity, the two enzymes have completely opposite effects on beta-amyloid - BACE1 giveth, while BACE2 taketh away," said researcher Dr. Malcolm A. Leissring.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, more than 5.4 million Americans are living with the neurodegenerative disease, making for one in eight seniors.
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