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Potential drug candidate for Alzheimer’s disease discovered by scientists at Lankenau Institute for Medical Research

Lankenau Medical Center July 17, 2019 Research News

A therapeutic target to treat Alzheimer’s disease has been discovered by a research team at the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR), part of Main Line Health.

An estimated 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s dementia, and by 2025 that number is expected to reach 7.1 million, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Currently, there is no cure for the disease, which is the fifth leading cause of death for those age 65 and older. The total national cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is estimated to be $277 billion (not including unpaid caregiving) and is expected to top $1 trillion by 2050.

The LIMR research team hypothesized that blocking the action of the bridging integrator 1 (Bin1) protein might lower the levels of another protein called tau, which is associated with Bin1. In Alzheimer’s disease, abnormal chemical changes cause tau proteins to stick together and form threads that eventually join to form tangles inside nerve cells. A proliferation of those tangles, which is a telltale sign of Alzheimer’s disease, blocks nerve cells’ transport systems that, in turn, disrupts their ability to communicate with other neurons. The result is that patients experience problems with memory, thinking and behavior, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily living.

LIMR researchers previously found that blocking the actions of the Bin1 protein decreased the expression of several inflammatory agents in the colon and thus could reduce incidence of ulcerative colitis in experimental mice. The researchers then wondered if the Bin1 antibody might also lower the expression of the tau protein.

“In cell culture studies we found that inhibiting the action of the Bin1 protein decreased the levels of phosphorylated tau, and in mouse studies, those treated with the Bin1 antibody survived longer than mice that were left untreated,” said Sunil Thomas, PhD, research assistant professor at LIMR and the lead author of the study. “Our data confirm that Bin1 monoclonal antibody could be a viable drug candidate for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”

The study’s results were published in the manuscript “Bin1 antibody lowers the expression of phosphorylated Tau in Alzheimer’s disease” in Journal of Cellular Biochemistry. The study was supported by a grant from the Women’s Board of Lankenau Medical Center.

About Main Line Health

Founded in 1985,Main Line Health is a not-for-profit health system serving portions of Philadelphia and its western suburbs. Main Line Health’s commitment—to deliver advanced medicine to treat and cure disease while also playing an important role in prevention and disease management as well as training physicians and other health care providers—reflects our intent to keep our community and ourselves well ahead. A team of more than 10,000 employees and 2,000 physicians care for patients throughout the Main Line Health system.

At Main Line Health’s core are four of the region’s most respected acute care hospitals—Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Paoli Hospital and Riddle Hospital—as well as one of the nation’s recognized facilities for rehabilitative medicine, Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital.

Main Line Health also includes Mirmont Treatment Center for drug and alcohol recovery; Main Line Health HomeCare & Hospice, which includes skilled home health care, hospice and home infusion services; Main Line Health Centers, primary and specialty care, lab and radiology, and other outpatient services located in Broomall, Collegeville, Concordville, Exton, King of Prussia and Newtown Square; Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, a biomedical research organization; and Main Line HealthCare,one of the region’s largest multispecialty physician networks.

Main Line Health is the recipient of numerous awards for quality care and service, including System Magnet® designation, the nation’s highest distinction for nursing excellence and the Mid-Atlantic Alliance for Performance Excellence (MAAPE) Excellence Award. Main Line Health is committed to creating an environment of diversity, respect and inclusion and has proudly embraced the American Hospital Association’s #123forEquity Pledge to Act to eliminate disparities in care. We are dedicated to advancing patient-centered care, education and research to help our community stay healthy.

About Lankenau Institute for Medical Research

Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute located on the campus of Lankenau Medical Center and is part of Main Line Health. Founded in 1927, LIMR’s mission is to improve human health and well-being. Faculty and staff are devoted to advancing innovative new approaches to formidable medical challenges, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders and autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis. LIMR’s principal investigators conduct basic, preclinical and translational research, using their findings to explore ways to improve disease detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. They are committed to extending the boundaries of human health through technology transfer and training of the next generation of scientists and physicians.