GUWAHATI, May 20 - Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT-G) have achieved positive results on new ways to prevent or reduce short-term memory losses associated with Alzheimer�s disease.
A research team headed by Prof Vibin Ramakrishnan, Department of Biosciences & Bioengineering of IIT Guwahati and Prof Harshal Nemade of the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering of the institute have studied the neurochemical principles of Alzheimer�s, and are exploring new ways to prevent accumulation of neurotoxic molecules in the brain that are associated with short-term memory loss due to Alzheimer�s disease.
The team has reported methods such as application of low-voltage electric field and use of �Trojan peptides� to arrest aggregation of neurotoxic molecules in the brain.
�Development of a cure for Alzheimer�s disease is important, especially for India, which has the third highest number of Alzheimer�s patients in the world after China and US. More than four million people in the country have fallen prey to the memory loss associated with it. While current treatments only alleviate some of the symptoms of the disease, there is no disruptive therapeutic approach yet that can treat the underlying causes of Alzheimer's,� said Prof Ramakrishnan.
He said that a defining hallmark of Alzheimer�s is the accumulation of amyloid beta peptides in the brain.
Prof Ramakrishnan and Prof Nemade are seeking methods to reduce the accumulation of these peptides in order to arrest the progression of Alzheimer�s.
In 2019, they found that application of a low-voltage safe electrical field can reduce the formation and accumulation of toxic neurodegenerative molecules that cause short-term memory loss in Alzheimer�s disease.
�We found that external electric and magnetic field modulates the structure of these peptide molecules, thereby preventing aggregation. Upon exposing the molecules to electric field, we could retard the degeneration of nerve cells to an extent of 17 to 35 per cent. Objectively, this would translate to about 10 years delay in the onset of the disease,� said Prof Ramakrishnan.
Working further in this area, the scientists explored the possibility of using Trojan peptides to arrest aggregation of these neurotoxic molecules.
The researchers have designed Trojan peptides to impede the aggregation of the amyloid peptide, arrest the formation of toxic fibrillar assemblies and reduce poisoning of nerve cells that leads to memory loss.
�Our research has provided a different path that may extend the onset of the Alzheimer�s disease. However, it would take testing in animal models and clinical trials before bringing in such new therapeutic approaches into human treatment,� said Prof Ramakrishnan and Prof Nemade.