In the News
A major new study on Alzheimer’s disease provides previously unknown evidence of how the brain-robbing illness may originate.
Moreover, it proposes that certain HIV drugs called reverse transcriptase inhibitors could immediately be repurposed for Alzheimer’s patients. These drugs might also ward off Alzheimer’s in those with Down syndrome, who generally develop the disease as they age.
Led by scientists from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, the study finds that, as long suspected, Alzheimer’s is a genetic disease. But in nearly all cases, it’s not inherited. Rather, it arises during a patient’s lifetime by genetic rearrangements in neurons.
The process copies and rearranges segments of DNA into different sequences. This reshuffling creates a mosaic of slightly differing cells. The immune system uses a similar process to make antibodies, but nothing like it has been seen in the human brain.