February 21, 2007
Researchers George Bloom and Michelle King are hard at work on what just might be a breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer's.
"We've sort of uncovered a whole new angle on Alzheimers you might think of it as a pathway with many steps" said Bloom, UVa Professor of Biology and Cell Biology.
And it's in the first step that the two professors found a deadly link between two different proteins that accummulate in the brain before Alzheimer's sets in. Up until now, the mystery behind the neurological disease has been not knowing what goes wrong with cells during those steps.
"Just as your auto mechanic can fix your car but maybe you can't because he knows how your car works and you don't" said Bloom.
Hoping to get under the hood of Alzheimer's they isolated proteins that they now know work together in the detereoration of nerve cells leading to memory loss, a milestone in this field.
"We're quite surprised by how dramatic the finding was from the very beginning so it's been, from that moment on things have just taken off like a roller coaster" said King, UVa research assistant professor.
Knowing the deadly connection between the proteins now, the pair believes the finding could launch dozens of options when it comes to new drug targets for Alzheimer's therapy.
More than likely not for a preventative measure, but for an interventional measure.