Discovery presents treatment hope for Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases

August 9, 2018, University of South Australia
3D illustration of nerve cells, concept for Neurological Diseases, tumors and brain surgery. Credit: Shutterstock

There is new hope for the treatment of Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases following a ground-breaking discovery made by an Australian-Chinese research collaboration.

Researchers from the University of South Australia and the Third Military Medical University in China have discovered a signal pathway within , and also invented a potential drug that could stop degeneration and actually improve learning and memory in affected patients.

UniSA's Professor Xin-Fu Zhou and colleagues have been investigating tauopathies—which refers to a class of diseases caused by misfolding of the tau protein inside nerve cells that results in cell damage and eventually cell death.

These diseases include Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Motor Neuron Disease, all of which presently have no cure.

Specifically, the team has looked into frontotemporal lobe degeneration (FTLD), a term representing a group of clinical syndromes related to cognitive impairment, behavioural abnormalities and speech disorders.

Professor Zhou says that previously it was unknown how the gene mutation was responsible for causing cell death or damage—referred to generally as neurodegeneration, and dementia in patients with FTLD and other motor neuron diseases."Right now there is no treatment available at all," Prof Zhou says."We have been investigating how these tauopathies (diseases) have some common pathology, including a particular that plays a critical role in ."

Tau protein is a protein that stabilises microtubules and it is specifically abundant in neurons of the nervous system, but not in elsewhere.

"Our research found that in both the animal model and human brains, the signal of neurotrophins and receptors is abnormal in brains with FTLD," Prof Zhou says.

"We discovered an increase in the neurotrophin signalling pathway that is related to life and death of , known as proNGF/p75, and then found blocking its functions was shown to reduce cell damage.

"Thus, in this paper we not only discovered a signaling pathway but also invented a for treatment of such diseases."

Given this strong evidence now available, the next stage is a clinical trial and South Australian biotech company Tiantai Medical Technology Pty Ltd has recently acquired a licence to further develop and commercialise this medical technology.

Professor Zhou says this industry involvement means there is an opportunity to translate the discovery into a treatment of Alzheimer's and other tauopathies.

The paper published in Molecular Psychiatry is a collaborative work between two laboratories led by Professor Xin-Fu Zhou, University of South Australia and Professor Yanjiang Wang, the Third Military Medical University.

Explore further: Scientists discover protective molecule against Alzheimer's Disease

Related Stories

Scientists discover protective molecule against Alzheimer's Disease

April 29, 2015
South Australian and Chinese scientists have made a molecular discovery through their research into finding a cure for Alzheimer's Disease.

Research partnership finds new Alzheimer's hope

April 8, 2015
A drug discovery by Adelaide and Chinese scientists could hold promise in the fight against the devastating effects of Alzheimer's Disease.

Insights into familial middle-age dementia suggest new avenues for treatment

February 26, 2018
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is one of the most common causes of early-onset dementia, and can lead to personality changes, impaired speaking and motor dysfunction. While most cases occur sporadically, several ...

Abnormal gene copying seen in tauopathy fruit fly models

July 24, 2018
It sounds like science fiction: Nefarious genes clone themselves and settle their rogue copies in distant outposts of the galaxy (namely, our DNA), causing disease.

A new mechanism for neurodegeneration in a form of dementia

May 8, 2018
A new study in Biological Psychiatry reports that dementia-related and psychiatric-related proteins cluster together to form aggregates in the brain, leading to abnormal cell function and behavior. Aggregation of the protein ...

Slaying motor neurone disease death signals

February 26, 2016
Motor neurone disease may still be considered a certain and unpleasant death sentence, but researchers at The University of Queensland are testing a promising treatment option.

Recommended for you

People are more honest when using a foreign tongue, research finds

August 17, 2018
New UChicago-led research suggests that someone who speaks in a foreign language is probably more credible than the average native speaker.

FDA approves brain stimulation device for OCD

August 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—A brain stimulation device to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has received approval for marketing Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Research eyes role of stress in mental illnesses

August 17, 2018
We all face stress in our lives. Even researchers seeking to understand why some people shrug it off while others face battles against disorders like depression or PTSD.

16 going on 66: Will you be the same person 50 years from now?

August 17, 2018
How much do you change between high school and retirement? The answer depends on whether you're comparing yourself to others or to your younger self.

Men and women show surprising differences in seeing motion

August 16, 2018
Researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on August 16 have found an unexpected difference between men and women. On average, their studies show, men pick up on visual motion significantly faster than women do.

Expecting to learn: Language acquisition in toddlers improved by predictable situations

August 16, 2018
The first few years of a child's life are crucial for learning language, and though scientists know the "when," the "how" is still up for debate. The sheer number of words a child hears is important; that number predicts ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Debbie4190
not rated yet Aug 12, 2018
Computer Hacking - He specialize in hacking several different platforms and operating systems, He have tools that can provide a key turn hacking tool to help assist you with whatever it is you are looking to do. Contact him if you are looking to have a custom computer hacking tool coded.
Contact MPARKSHACKINGINT @ GMAIL . COM or TEXT HIM +1(321) 730 8834

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.