04.12.2012 - Scientists from VIB and KU Leuven have discovered a new target that could lay the foundations for a new approach to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
The research team, headed by Bart de Strooper from VIB, found that β-arrestin 2 blocks the plaque-form enzyme γ-secretase through interaction with the G protein–coupled receptors GPR3 and β2 -adrenergic receptor (Nature Medicine). Furthermore, they demonstrated that β-arrestin 2 was overexpressed in two independent cohorts of Alzheimer patients. Overexpression of the protein led to an increase in sticky amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides, called Aβ40 and Aβ42, which form the amyloid plaques that are associated with neurodegeneration. In contrast, genetic silencing of Arrb2, which encodes β-arrestin 2, reduced generation of Aβ in cell cultures and in knock-out mice for the Alzheimer regulator. The effect was mediated by direct binding to the Aph-1a subunit of the γ-secretase complex, which enzymatically generates the sticky Aβ peptides. Thus the scientists believe that inhibitors of β-arrestin 2 could block the generation of Aβ40 and Aβ42, in early stages of Alzheimer’s when no symptoms have yet emerged.
Currently there is no cure for the neurodegenerative disease. Many candidate drugs that target the γ-secretase complex fail because they also target proteins essential to life. The discovery from Leuven could form a target for a treatment against Alzheimer’s disease with fewer side effects and that suppresses the very first symptoms of the disease. β-arrestin 2 inhibition could be beneficial in prevention of the adverse side effects currently associated with γ-secretase inhibition. This study thus provides a previously unexplored avenue for the development of a treatment that can act at a very early stage of Alzheimer’s disease.
19.11.2014 It’s not every day that a company is pushed into the top ten of its sector, but that day has come for Actavis. Christmas came early for the new pharma giant after completing a US$66bn (€53bn) takeover battle for the Botox manufacturer Allergan.
18.11.2014 Merck KGaA and US rival Pfizer have signed a immuno-oncology alliance worth billions: Merck will share the development and commercialisation of its cancer antibody with its US partner – for €2.3bn.
14.11.2014 Cosily coinciding with World Diabetes Day on 14th November, French biopharma Les Laboratories Servier has struck a US$1bn deal with US pharma Intarcia Therapeutics for the exclusive rights to Intarcia’s unprecedented therapy for type 2 diabetes.
12.11.2014 Glitz and glamour are not words often used to describe science and mathematics. But once a year, celebrities from the science and showbiz world come together at the Breakthough Prizes, a glitzy television bash that honours scientists for their achievements. French life scientist Emmanuelle Charpentier was among this year’s winners.
04.11.2014 Galecto Biotech has entered an agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb for the acquisition of the company and its lead drug, providing the Swedish company with the potential of reaching over US$400m.