Tags: Alzheimer's/Dementia | down | syndrome | alzheimer | protein

Could Down Syndrome Hold the Key to an Alzheimer's Cure?

Could Down Syndrome Hold the Key to an Alzheimer's Cure?
(Copyright DPC)

By    |   Friday, 18 September 2015 03:04 PM

People with Down Syndrome have brain features that are strikingly similar to those seen in Alzheimer’s disease patients — shared traits that scientists believe could lead to new therapies for treating dementia.

In a new study, published in the September issue of Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, University of California-San Diego scientists confirmed that people with Alzheimer’s and Down syndrome have higher levels of the protein beta amyloid in their brains, which causes cognitive disabilities.

By studying how soon protein plaques develop, where in the brain they are located, and the effects of the plaques on cognition in people with Down syndrome, scientists could gain a better understanding of Alzheimer’s that could pave the way for new therapeutic treatments, the UCSD researchers said.

"People with Down syndrome represent the world's largest population of predetermined Alzheimer's disease. By studying these individuals, we can develop insights into how Alzheimer's disease naturally progresses and potential drug targets," said principal investigator Michael Rafii, M.D., assistant professor of neurosciences and interim co-director of the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study at UCSD.

The new study involved 12 participants between the ages of 30 and 60 with Down syndrome whose condition was tracked over time.

AD is believed to occur from the toxic buildup of beta amyloid. People with Down syndrome have an extra copy of the 21st chromosome where the production gene for the beta amyloid protein resides.

"This study shows some of the earliest known Alzheimer's disease biomarker changes in adults with Down syndrome and underscores the need for additional studies," said Dr. Rafii. "This study will set the stage for the first clinical trial of anti-beta amyloid therapy in the preclinical treatment of Alzheimer's disease in adults with Down syndrome."

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People with Down Syndrome have brain features that are similar to those seen in Alzheimer's disease patients - shared traits that scientists believe could lead to new therapies for treating dementia.
down, syndrome, alzheimer, protein
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2015-04-18
Friday, 18 September 2015 03:04 PM
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