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Drugs targeting blood vessels may help fight Alzheimer’s

March 11, 2013
by Patricia Sheehan, Editor-in-Chief
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Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada, claim to have successfully normalized the production of blood vessels in the brain of mice with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by immunizing them with amyloid beta, a protein widely associated with the disease.

While AD is typically characterized by a build-up of plaques in the brain, recent research by the UBC team showed a near doubling of blood vessels in the brain of mice and humans with AD.

The new study, published online in Scientific Reports, a Nature journal, shows a reduction of brain capillaries in mice immunized with amyloid beta—a phenomenon subsequently corroborated by human clinical data—as well as a reduction of plaque build-up.

“The discovery provides further evidence of the role that an overabundance of brain blood vessels plays in AD, as well as the potential efficacy of amyloid beta as basis for an AD vaccine,” said lead investigator Wilfred Jefferies, a professor in UBC’s Michael Smith Laboratories, in a press release.

“Now that we know blood vessel growth is a factor in AD, if follows that drugs targeting blood vessels may be good candidates as an AD treatment.”

The study was done in collaboration with researchers at UBC’s Biomedical Research Centre and  Mount Sinai, School of Medicine in New York.

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