Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Israeli Professor Uncovers Protein that Could Reverse Alzheimer’s Damage

TAU Professor Illana Gozes hopes to lessen the damage of brain cells in Alzheimer’s patients

By: Graham Sigurdson

Published: May 20th, 2014 in Health » Israel

In May’s Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Tel Aviv University Professor Illana Gozes outlined the discovery of a new protein that may lessen the damage of brain cells in Alzheimer’s patients.

Gozes, who holds the Lily and Avraham Gildor Chair for the Investigation of Growth Factors, and is also the director of the Adams Super Center for Brain Studies at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, as well as serving as a member of Tel Aviv University’s Sagol School of Neuroscience, made a new discovery regarding the disease, and discusses a certain protein that could help battle it.

“Several years ago we discovered that NAP showed efficacy in Phase 2 clinical trials in mild cognitive impairments, a precursor to Alzheimer’s,” wrote Gozes. “Now, we’re investigating whether there are other novel NAP-like sequences in other proteins.”

NAP is a protein that, in previous studies, was found to protect cognitive functions. It’s an eight-amino acid peptide that has provided potent neuroprotection throughout many trials, derived from activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP), which is a necessary molecule that aids in brain formation.

“NAP operates through the stabilization of microtubules – tubes within the cell which maintain cellular shape. They serve as ‘train tracks’ for movement of biological material,” said Gozes. “In Alzheimer’s disease, these microtubules break down. The newly discovered protein fragments, just like NAP before them, work to protect microtubules, thereby protecting the cell.”


“NAP operates through the stabilization of microtubules – tubes within the cell which maintain cellular shape. They serve as ‘train tracks’ for movement of biological material,” said Gozes. “In Alzheimer’s disease, these microtubules break down. The newly discovered protein fragments, just like NAP before them, work to protect microtubules, thereby protecting the cell.”

Gozes believes that, with further animal testing and research, effective treatments for Alzheimer’s and similar diseases may result. “We clearly see here the protective effect of the treatment. We witnessed the restorative and protective effects of totally new protein fragments, derived from proteins critical to cell function, in tissue cultures and on animal models.”

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