Massachusetts Patent of the Month – February 2021

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly. Late onset AD (LOAD) has a strong genetic component combined with environmental factors. Studies have shown that deposition of amyloid beta-containing plaques (Aβ) is a hallmark of both LOAD and the rarer familial AD (FAD). Several genes linked to LOAD are seen to impact Aβ generation, aggregation, and clearance which suggests that dysregulation Aβ is a strong mechanism in LOAD. One theory suggests that increased production of Aβ triggers changes that lead to neurodegeneration. The General Hospital Corporation has been researching the connection between CD33 proteins and Aβ and the implications it has on AD.

They discovered that CD33 proteins inhibit the uptake and clearance og Aβ in microglial cells found in the brain and spinal cord. Inhibiting the clearance ability leads to aggregation of Aβ which then contributes to neurodegeneration. So, Mass General suggests that inhibiting CD33 could allow Aβ to continue it’s cycle of uptake and clearance and prevent aggregation. This reduction in Aβ within the cell could lead to reduced neurodegeneration. Their methodology suggests administering a CD33 inhibitor to treat or prevent diseases like AD. This method would not be limited to AD however, and could possibly aid in any disease resulting from Aβ aggregation.

About Mass General Hospital

Mass General has the largest hospital based research program in the U.S. Guided by the needs of our patients, Mass General delivers care grounded in leading edge research, advanced treatment offerings and the latest clinical trials.

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