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2008 Grants - Yang
Exploring Methods to Chemically Degrade Aggregated Abeta Peptides
Jerry C. Yang, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, California
2008 New Investigator Research Grant
Beta-amyloid (also known as Abeta) is a protein fragment (peptide) that aggregates to form toxic structures that may be key factors in Alzheimer pathology. One proposed therapeutic strategy to combat this toxicity is to deploy methods that can degrade amyloid aggregates. Unfortunately, several attempts to achieve this goal have been unsuccessful.
Jerry C. Yang, Ph.D., and colleagues are attempting to develop a new method for degrading amyloid aggregates in the brain. Their method involves the use of a class of chemical compounds known as enediynes. Enediynes are large, complex molecules isolated from bacteria. They are known to have potent anticancer and antibiotic properties.
Dr. Yang and colleagues plan to combine specific enediynes with other chemical compounds known to bind to beta-amyloid. They will then use this combined drug to degrade isolated amyloid plaque. The researchers will collect the byproducts of amyloid degradation and test whether those products are less toxic to nerve cells. These studies may yield a new class of compounds able to degrade amyloid aggregates in the brain, potentially leading to new ways to treat Alzheimer's disease.