Korean researchers have developed a substance that can cut away the protein that causes dementia. This draws attention to the possibility of finding a treatment for dementia, which has so far been regarded as incurable.
The toxic protein amyloid beta damages brain cells and causes dementia. Experts have struggled to find a way to remove accumulations of this protein in the human brain, but to no avail.
[Soundbite] Prof. Im Mi-hee(Ulsan Nat'l Inst. of Science & Technology) : "The protein is not very water-soluble, so there has been great difficulty in uncovering its mechanism."
A team of Korean researchers has created a substance that can break down this toxic protein. It consists of a metallic material sandwiched between a substance which is readily attached to the toxic protein. The composite attracts water to loosen or dilute the dementia-triggering protein, eventually removing it. It took 2 years for the team to develop this groundbreaking substance. Researchers are now conducting tests using biological tissue to determine whether there are any side effects.
[Soundbite] Prof. Im Mi-hee(Ulsan Nat'l Inst. of Science & Technology) : "We need to raise the reactivity. There can't be any side effects because the eventual application for the substance is medical."
However, the researchers say it will take more than 15 years to commercialize the substance as a treatment for dementia.
The finding has been published as a cover report in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society and has also been named as a research paper worthy of global attention.