A new study should be lifting the hopes of the pharmaceutical giants who are working on Alzheimer’s drugs that inhibit the brain’s creation of beta amyloid, a destructive protein, according to The New York Times.
The study, published online Wednesday in the journal Nature, discovered an uncommon gene mutation that protects people from Alzheimer’s. The “protective” gene mutation slows down the production of beta amyloid in the brain, while there are also mutations lead to Alzheimer’s because they spur the creation of beta amyloid, according to The Times.
The study, done by DeCode Genetics, found the protective gene mutation when it examined the DNA of 1,795 Icelanders, the paper reported.
Roughly one in 100 “had a mutation in the gene for a large protein that is sliced to form beta amyloid,” The Times wrote.
Scientists then looked at those who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, as well as a group 85 and up.
“Those with the mutation appeared to be protected from Alzheimer’s disease,” The Times said.
This mutation is found in only about one in 10,000 people.
At least three Alzheimer’s drugs in final trials are “designed to reduce the amount of amyloid in the brain,” according to The Times. And the new research seems to show that they are on the right track.
The build-up of beta amyloid in the brain is considered the culprit behind Alzheimer’s, and research has found that some people who eventually develop Alzheimer’s began manufacturing excess beta amyloid as long as 20 years before they exhibited symptoms of the dreaded disease, according to The Times.
The bottom line is that those with the protective gene mutation produce less beta amyloid don’t get Alzheimer’s, and that particular drug mutation is the only difference between them and other folks, The Times said.