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2008 Grant - Hersh
A Modified Neprilysin for Gene Therapy
Louis B. Hersh, Ph.D.
University of Kentucky
2008 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
The protein fragment beta amyloid, a key suspect in Alzheimer's disease, tends to accumulate into clumps called plaques within the Alzheimer brain. In recent studies with mice, researchers have found that an enzyme called neprilysin can break down harmful beta-amyloid clumps. This enzyme is produced naturally in the human brain. However, previous efforts to introduce engineered neprilysin into Alzheimer brains have proven ineffective and unsafe.
Louis B. Hersh, Ph.D., and colleagues plan to use sophisticated genetic techniques to develop more effective forms of engineered neprilysin. Time permitting, the researchers also hope to compare the effectiveness of their engineered neprilysin with that of natural neprilysin. This comparative study would be conducted with mice genetically engineered to develop human Alzheimer-like symptoms.
The findings of Dr. Hersh's study could lead to a novel drug treatment for Alzheimer's disease.