Israeli scientists have found a new approach to the treatment of Alzheimer's disease

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 Israeli scientists have found a new approach to the treatment of Alzheimer's disease

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A growing body of evidence points to metabolic abnormalities in Alzheimer's patients, predicted to reach 135 million by 2050. Although Alzheimer's disease is associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, there are currently no drug candidates targeting this aspect.

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, led by Prof. Ward Shoshan-Barmatz, propose a new treatment approach by targeting the mitochondrial gatekeeper — voltage-gated anion channel-1 (VDAC1), which controls mitochondrial activity and cell life and death.

The new proposed therapy has shown significant improvements in many ways in mouse models. The study was recently reported in the prestigious journal Translational Neurodegeneration.

Shoshan-Barmatz studies have shown that the VDAC1 protein is produced in huge amounts in the brain of a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease and concentrates in the nerve cells around the plaque, which leads to their death.

Shoshan-Barmatz developed a small molecule called VBIT-4 that binds to VDAC1 and prevents pathophysiological changes associated with Alzheimer's disease such as neuronal death, neuroinflammation and neurometabolic dysfunction. This treatment not only protected against degeneration, but also promoted healthy growth and normal functioning of neurons. In addition, the therapy also prevented a decline in cognitive skills in mice such as learning and memory.

Interestingly, the protective effects were achieved without significant reduction in some of the plaques that are commonly considered to be the main causes of Alzheimer's disease. This suggests that current ideas that these elements are the main cause of the disease may not be accurate.

“ Targeting VDAC1 with a new molecule that we have developed represents an innovative approach to the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and could even be used to prevent it, — said Shoshan-Barmats.

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