In recent years, a number of studies suggest that Alzheimer’s disease has an infectious origin. A new study confirms the elements of a bacterial pathway; it seems that the disease probably originates from Porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacterium responsible for inflammation of the gums.
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The bacterial pathway
A private company Cortexme recently published a new study in the Journal of Science Advances. An international team of researchers described the role of P. gingivalisin the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. “For the first time, we are providing strong evidence of a link between the Gram-negative intracellular pathogen Pg and the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease,” says principal author Stephan Dominy.
Research conducted on mice shows that an infection caused by P. gingivalis resulted in an increased production of beta-amyloid, the aggregation of which is characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to the presence of the bacterium itself, the researchers also noted the presence of neurotoxic peptidases, which have a destructive effect on tau proteins, which normally play a role in the development of neuronal functions.
Promising clinical trials
The company already seems to have shown the effectiveness of small molecule therapies as inhibitors of the pathogen. They developed a compound specifically targeted at peptidases of p. gingivitis. This remedy limits the bacterial load and blocks the production of beta-amyloid (Aβ42) in addition to reducing inflammation and protects the neutrons in the hippocampus.
The molecule has already been tested (phase 1b) in several elderly patients and people with Alzheimer's disease, revealing a good tolerance to treatment. The results of the cognitive tests show for the moment its effectiveness, but more tests will have to be carried out before it is put on the market.
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