Last Updated: February 02, 2012.
If validated, finding might open doors to new therapies, even a vaccine, experts say.
By Margaret Farley Steele and Steven Reinberg
THURSDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Alzheimer's disease appears to spread through the brain, traveling from neuron to neuron in much the same way that an infection or cancer moves through the body, new research with mice suggests.
Scientists reported Thursday that their work indicates that abnormal tau protein -- already identified in the brains of those with Alzheimer's -- starts in one region of the brain and spreads along linked cellular circuits.
Identification of this tau pathway could influence the direction of future research and treatment of the mind-wasting disease, the study authors and other experts said.
"This opens up a whole new area of biology that has direct relevance for Alzheimer's disease. We now have a whole new set of targets that perhaps we can develop drugs for," said study lead author Karen Duff, a professor of pathology at Columbia University's Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain.
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