‘New Nanocomposite Inhibits Misfolded Protein Causing Alzheimer’s’

‘New Nanocomposite Inhibits Misfolded Protein Causing Alzheimer’s’

The Korea Basic Science Institute (KBSI) said a joint research team has developed a nanocomposite inhibiting the formation of amyloid plaques, which play a central role in Alzheimer's disease.

The research team, led by Dr. Kang Hyun-o at KBSI and Professor Park Chan-beom at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), found that the nanocomposites activated by light generate active oxygen break up amyloid plaques, inhibiting recombination and new formation of amyloid plaques.

In treating Alzheimer's disease, this is the first study to develop a nanocomposite that can control time and target with light to verify its inhibitory effect, it said.

The nanocomposites are smaller than five nanometers and are activated only when receiving red light. It can suppress amyloid plaque formation by irradiating light at a specific location for a necessary period. Amyloid plaque is a protein mass found in the brain of Alzheimer's disease patients and is known to cause neurotoxicity in the process of continuing to accumulate in the brain. This process destroys the signaling system of brain neurons, causing Alzheimer's.

"The key to developing a therapeutic agent related to the cranial nerve lies in whether the drug can pass through the blood-brain barrier that protects the nerve cells from foreign substances," Kang said. "The newly developed nanocomposite is likely to pass through the cerebral vascular barrier. We expect this substance to lead to the development of a new drug that can treat Alzheimer's disease."

KBSI President Shin Hyung-shik said, "Korea is rapidly aging, so we need a national  response to the increasing number of related disorders."

Shin said his institute has completed the Aging Research Center's construction, including Animal Facility of Aging Science, for conducting follow-up studies on aging.

The study results were published in a recent issue of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Nano.

Read the original article on Korea Biomedical Review (KBR).