Reversing Alzheimer's gene 'blockade' restores memory

Posted: March 3, 2012 at 7:29 am

Washington, March 1 (IANS) An enzyme overproduced in the brains of Alzheimer's patients creates a blockade that shuts off genes necessary to form new memories, says a new research.

Furthermore, by inhibiting that enzyme in mice, the researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were able to reverse Alzheimer's symptoms.

The finding suggests that drugs targeting the enzyme, known as HDAC2, could be a promising new approach to treating the disease, which affects 5.4 million Americans alone, the journal Nature reports.

The number of Alzheimer's victims worldwide is expected to double every 20 years, and President Barack Obama recently set a target date of 2025 to find an effective treatment, according to an MIT statement.

Li-Huei Tsai, who led the MIT research team, says that HDAC2 inhibitors could help achieve that goal, though it would likely take at least 10 years to develop and test such drugs.

"I would strongly advocate for an active program to develop agents that can contain HDAC2 activity," said Tsai, director of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT.

"The disease is so devastating and affects so many people, so I would encourage more people to think about this," added Tsai.

Reversing Alzheimer's gene 'blockade' restores memory

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