News of the WeekNeuroscience

Enzymes Point Way to Potential Alzheimer's Therapies

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Science  22 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5440, pp. 650-651
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5440.650

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Summary

Researchers are now isolating the enzymes that make b-amyloid, a small protein that builds up in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, where it may kill neurons and thereby drive the relentless neurological degeneration of the disease. On page 735, molecular biologists describe a new candidate for b-secretase, an elusive enzyme that is needed to free one end of b-amyloid from its larger precursor protein. A second b-secretase candidate is due to be reported at this week's annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Miami. If amyloid is the destructive agent in Alzheimer's, drugs that target its production could slow or even reverse the disease's course.