More Effective Treatment of Alzheimer’s

Elin Bäckström wrote . . . . . . . . .

Researchers at Uppsala University have designed new antibodies that might provide more effective treatment methods for Alzheimer’s disease. By designing antibodies that bind even to the smaller aggregates, or clumps, of the amyloid-beta protein, it may be possible to check the progress of the disease. The results presents in Translational Neurodegeneration.

Developing effective treatment methods for Alzheimer’s disease has proved difficult. The most effective, which have just been approved, only provide marginal effects. There are several major reasons why they are not effective, one of which is that the antibodies used do not bind to all the types of toxic clumps that cause Alzheimer’s disease.

In Alzheimer’s disease, the amyloid-beta protein begins to form clumps. This process is called aggregation, and the clumps created are called aggregates. The research group has previously shown that treatment with the peptide somatostatin causes the body to begin breaking down building blocks of the aggregate. In the new study, the researchers use an antibody that can bind to the toxic aggregates to stop them from harming cells.

Small clumps may be more toxic

The problem with the treatment methods currently tested in patient studies is that the antibodies bind much more strongly to large clumps and hardly at all to small clumps. The small clumps are just as toxic as the large ones and many think that they are actually even more dangerous since they can move more.

The purpose of the current study was to develop an antibody format that can bind to both large and small clumps of amyloid-beta. Antibodies use the avidity effect to bind strongly to their targets. This requires the binding of both arms of the antibody to the same target at the same time (see figure).

The distance between the arms of the antibody is crucial for how small an aggregate the antibody can bind to strongly. If the aggregate is smaller than the distance between the arms, they do not bind to the aggregate strongly. If it is larger, they bind to the aggregate very strongly. In the new article, the researchers have developed a new antibody format with shorter distances between the arms so that they bind to smaller aggregates. The new format also has more binding sites to make the binding extra strong.

“Thanks to the avidity effect, the new antibody format is at least 40 times stronger in binding to the clumps. The new type of antibody can also bind to small aggregates with avidity, which we have not previously seen any other antibody do. That is fantastic,” says Greta Hultqvist, Senior lecturer and Associate Professor in Protein drug design at Uppsala University who led the study.

The effects of the antibodies were also tested in a cell culture experiment, which showed that the new antibody format could save cells from death caused by amyloid-beta aggregates. Although no pre-clinical experiments were included, the team thinks their results suggest that the new antibody design could be more effective than those trialed so far.

“The focus of the study was targeting the amyloid-beta protein in Alzheimer’s disease, but the new antibody design can be general and applicable to other disease-causing clumps. From a long-term perspective, we hope that the new format can open up new avenues for the generation of future treatments, not only in Alzheimer’s disease, but also other diseases where proteins start to form aggregates, like Parkinson’s disease,” says Fadi Rofo, doctoral student in Protein drug design at Uppsala University, and first author of the study.

Source: Uppsala University

What’s for Lunch?

Lobster Set Lunch at Chunagon in Tokyo, Japan

The price is 3,980 yen plus tax.

Second Report on Toxins in Baby Foods Finds Continuing Problems

Despite the troubling findings of a congressional report released earlier this year on toxins in baby foods, a new report finds even more manufacturers are selling baby foods that contain potentially unsafe levels of heavy metals.

The toxins in question include dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury, among others.

“No level of toxic heavy metals and exposure to them is safe for a baby,” said Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, which authored the latest report.

Named in the findings are some high-profile companies, including Gerber, Plum Organics and Beech-Nut.

In citing Gerber, congressional investigators said the company’s infant rice cereal contained inorganic arsenic levels that exceeded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s limit and “failed to recall” them, CBS News reported.

Responding to a request for comment, Gerber said it “follows a consistent and rigorous testing plan which includes regular testing of finished products” and increases testing “for products that have a history of naturally occurring level[s] of heavy metals.”

The subcommittee report also noted that some samples of Beech-Nut products contained more inorganic arsenic than allowed. A recall issued in June was too narrow, it said.

Beech-Nut countered by saying it “proactively withdrew all those rice cereal products from supermarket shelves.” The company said it also decided to stop selling infant rice products because it “is concerned about being able to consistently obtain rice flour well below the FDA guidance level.”

The report also said most Plum Organics products, including Super Puffs snacks, contained heavy metals.

Krishnamoorthi called for stronger federal standards, including moving up timelines of the FDA’s “closer to zero” program, which will set federal levels for some heavy metals in 2024.

“They haven’t so far shown either the capacity or the willingness to regulate themselves. You need a federal regulator in the form of FDA to be regulating them closely,” Krishnamoorthi told CBS News.

Source: HealthDay

Braised Lobster with Cheese Sauce and E-fu Noodles

Ingredients

1 lobster
3 tbsp cornstarch
300 ml chicken stock
10 slices processed cheese
1 piece E-fu noodles (伊麵)

Cornstarch Solution

2 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water

Method

  1. Rinse the lobster. Cut it into pieces with the shell on. Cut the head into two lengthwise.
  2. Sprinkle cornstarch over the lobster. Deep-fry in oil until done and golden.
  3. Bring the stock to the boil. Put in the cheese and cook until it melts. Stir in cornstarch solution. Cook until it thickens.
  4. Add the lobster and stir well to combine.
  5. Cook E-fu noodles in boiling water until soft. Remove and drain. Put noodles on the serving plate.
  6. Pour the lobsters and cheese sauce over the noodles. Serve hot.

Source: Delicacies at the Stage


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