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2006 Grant - Kirschner
Quantitative Assessment of Potential Amyloid Inhibitors
Daniel A. Kirschner, Ph.D.
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
2006 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
The exact cause of Alzheimer's disease in most cases is unknown. However, a large body of evidence points to a small protein fragment called beta-amyloid as a key player in the pathological process. Mutations in proteins that help make beta-amyloid cause rare, inherited forms of the disease, and dense aggregates of beta-amyloid are found in the brains of all people who develop Alzheimer's disease.
Some researchers believe that preventing the formation of these beta-amyloid aggregates may help slow the progression of the disease. But finding molecules that disrupt these aggregates has not been easy, partly because the aggregation process itself is so poorly understood.
Daniel Kirschner, Ph.D., and colleagues will use advanced X-ray technology and other tools for physical analysis to screen molecules for their ability to perturb amyloid aggregation at different stages of the process. Their strategy should enable them to determine how inhibitors work at the molecular level- something that has not been accomplished with other screening methods.
The findings may improve our understanding of the beta-amyloid aggregation process and may help scientists develop more potent and highly specific inhibitors of aggregation.