HIV Drugs May Treat Alzheimer 's Disease

Alzheimer's may soon be treated with HIV drugs
Alzheimer's may soon be treated with HIV drugs (photo: pixabay)
By M. GraceNovember 27th, 2018

New research finds out that an HIV enzyme helps people with Alzheimer's disease.

A new study published on November 21 with the title "Somatic APP gene recombination in Alzheimer's disease and normal neurons" offers revelations to the APP gene.

Medical News Today reported that "scientists at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) in La Jolla, CA, found that the same type of enzyme that enables HIV to infect cells recombines the APP gene in a way that creates thousands of new genetic variants in the neurons of people with Alzheimer's."

"The findings may not only explain how APP drives the toxic buildup of beta-amyloid proteins - which is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease - but also "fundamentally change how we understand the brain and Alzheimer's disease," Dr. Jerold Chun, Ph.D., the senior author of the new paper, said.

"Gene recombination was discovered as both a normal process for the brain and one that goes wrong in Alzheimer's disease," explains Dr. Chun, who is also a professor and the senior vice president of Neuroscience Drug Discovery at SBP.

Dr. Chun and his team focused on single and multiple cell samples to study the APP gene in Alzheimer's and healthy brain samples.

"If we imagine DNA as a language that each cell uses to 'speak,' we found that in neurons, just a single word may produce many thousands of new, previously unrecognized words," Dr. Chun said.

"This is a bit like a secret code embedded within our normal language that is decoded by gene recombination," Dr. Chun adds. "The secret code is being used in healthy brains but also appears to be disrupted in Alzheimer's disease."

Dr. Chun added that the findings of their study provide a scientific basis for immediate clinical evaluation of HIV antiretroviral therapies in people with Alzheimer's disease.

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