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Researchers Come Closer To Finding Treatment For Alzheimer's

Update Date: Jul 29, 2014 10:34 AM EDT

Bioengineers at University of Washington have designed a peptide structure that can stop the harmful changes of the body's normal proteins into a state that is linked to diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and Lou Gehrig's disease, according to a new study. 

The synthetic molecule would block these proteins as they shift from their normal state into an abnormally folded form by targeting a toxic intermediate phase. 

Researchers believe the discovery of such protein blockers might lead to ways to diagnose and treat large number of diseases that are hard to pin down and rarely have a cure. 

 "If you can truly catch and neutralize the toxic version of these proteins, then you hopefully never get any further damage in the body," said senior author Valerie Daggett, a UW professor of bioengineering, in the press release. "What's critical with this and what has never been done before is that a single peptide sequence will work against the toxic versions of a number of different amyloid proteins and peptides, regardless of their amino acid sequence or the normal 3-D structures."

Findings of the study were published in the journal eLife

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