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CRISPR Gene Editing May Not Be so Precise After All

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-07-18 Research News The power of CRISPR to delete or replace specific genes has quickly made it the go-to gene-editing tool, now in use in several clinical trials. But is this genomic manipulation as specific as people think? In the July 16 Nature Biotechnology ...

VCAM1: Gateway to the Aging Brain?

CONFERENCE COVERAGE 2018-07-17 Conference Coverage Remember those eerie research findings evoking “The Twilight Zone”? Mysterious ingredients in the blood of young mice rejuvenated the brains of their elders, while the blood of old mice sped up aging in young’uns. The identity of blood ...

Synaptic Tau Clangs the Dinner Bell for Hungry Microglia

CONFERENCE COVERAGE 2018-07-17 Conference Coverage When tau strays into neuronal synapses, microglia see food. That is one possible interpretation from a handful of presentations at the joint Keystone symposia—Advances in Neurodegenerative Disease Research and Therapy / New Frontiers ...

ApoE Has Hand in Alzheimer’s Beyond Aβ, Beyond the Brain

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-07-14 Research News As the strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, ApoE, and particularly its relationship with Aβ, has been studied six ways to Sunday. More recently, scientists have turned to what the apolipoprotein does beyond Aβ. At a joint ...

TREM2: Diehard Microglial Supporter, Consequences Be DAMed

CONFERENCE COVERAGE 2018-07-13 Conference Coverage Like a dedicated mother doling out heaps of unconditional love, TREM2 supports microglial cells in all their pursuits, whether they help or hurt the brain. Trash clean-up, Aβ plaque containment, calling in blood cells for reinforcement ...

A Delicate Frontier: Human Microglia Focus of Attention at Keystone

CONFERENCE COVERAGE 2018-07-13 Conference Coverage For a pesky cell type that comprises a small fraction of cells in the brain, microglia have an outsize impact on neurodegeneration. Many of the Alzheimer’s risk loci identified in genome-wide association studies harbor genes expressed ...

Nano-size Quantum Dots Bust Up Synuclein Pathology

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-07-13 Research News Best known to biologists as brightly glowing florescent tracers, quantum dots could also have therapeutic powers, says a new study. Work led by Han Seok Ko of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and Byung Hee Hong at the University of ...

A Minority of Human Aβ Species are Toxic, Good Drug Targets

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-07-12 Research News Amyloid-β can assume a dizzying variety of shapes and sizes, and it is not clear which are most nefarious or even if they are found in the brain. Now, scientists led by Dominic Walsh at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston report that only ...

Topline Results: 18 Months of BAN2401 Might Work

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-07-07 Research News The biotech company BioArctic Neuroscience announced positive topline results at the 18-month mark of a Phase 2b  trial of BAN2401. This anti-Aβ protofibril immunotherapy was developed originally by Lars Lannfelt at Sweden’s Uppsala ...

MS4A Alzheimer’s Risk Gene Linked to TREM2 Signaling

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-07-06 Research News Searching the whole genome for variants that associate with soluble TREM2 in human cerebrospinal fluid, researchers have turned up single-nucleotide polymorphisms near genes for the membrane-spanning 4-domains subfamily A, which had been ...

Invading Microglia Unleash Neurodegeneration in 3D AD Culture

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-07-06 Research News Four years ago, researchers made a splash with the first in vitro model of Alzheimer’s pathology. In that advance, dubbed “Alzheimer’s in a dish,” neurons and astrocytes grown in a three-dimensional gel matrix produced amyloid plaques and ...

New Role for Cytokine S100B: Inhibiting Amyloid Aggregation

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-07-03 Research News The cytokine S100B has a reputation as a bad guy in Alzheimer’s disease, revving up inflammation and amyloidosis. Now, new research complicates that view, uncovering a potential beneficial role for the cytokine. In the June 29 Science ...

Herpes Triggers Amyloid—Could This Virus Fuel Alzheimer’s?

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-06-29 Research News Aβ is generally considered a rogue peptide, but recent research is building a case that it may have a secret identity as an antimicrobial superhero. Confronted with an unwelcome bacteria or fungus, the peptide quickly forms amyloid fibrils ...

Courtesy of Cryo-EM: GABAA Receptor in Close-Up View

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-06-29 Research News Using cryo-electron microscopy, scientists have gotten their first atomic snapshot of a human GABA A receptor. This inhibitory channel is the target of a range of anesthetic, anxiolytic, and recreational drugs. It is also the target for ...

In New ALS/FTD Mouse Model, Poly(GR) Peptides Poison Ribosomes

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-06-29 Research News As the most common genetic cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia (ALS/FTD), repeat expansions in the C9ORF72 gene spew a poisonous brew of abnormal RNAs and small dipeptide repeat (DPR) proteins. In a new mouse ...

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