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2010 Grants - Prado
The Prion Protein as a Therapeutic Target in Alzheimer's Disease
Marco A. M. Prado, Ph.D.
University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada
2010 Novel Pharmacological Strategies to Prevent Alzheimer's Disease
The prion protein (PrPc) is found in the normal, healthy brain. However, under certain conditions it changes shape and forms a structure that induces a class of diseases known as spongiform encephalopathies, such as mad cow disease or its human form known as variant Creutzfeld-Jacob disease. Recent studies have also found that PrPc binds to beta-amyloid, a protein fragment at the focus of research into the causes of Alzheimer's disease. Some evidence suggests that the interaction between beta-amyloid and PrPc mediates the detrimental effects of beta-amyloid on nerve cell function.
Marco A. M. Prado, Ph.D., and colleagues have proposed to study the interaction between beta-amyloid and PrPc and to identify potential drugs to block this interaction. The researchers plan to develop a reliable biochemical test to measure the interaction between beta-amyloid and PrPc. They will then use this test to screen drugs known to bind PrPc in order to find drugs that disrupt the detrimental effects caused by the beta-amyloid–PrPc complex. One focus of this research is a protein known as stress-inducible protein 1 (STI1), which is known to bind to PrPc. These studies may lead to the identification of drug candidates that inhibit the toxic effects of beta-amyloid in the brain.