Groundbreaking Research Identifies Likely Cause of Alzheimer’s Disease – Potential for New Treatment

Alzheimers Dementia Brain Disease Concept

A likely cause of Alzheimer’s disease offers a significant finding that offers potential new prevention and treatment opportunities for Australia’s second-leading cause of death.

Ground-breaking new Curtin University-led research has discovered a likely cause of Alzheimer’s disease, in a significant finding that offers potential new prevention and treatment opportunities for Australia’s second-leading cause of death.

The study, published in the prestigious PLOS Biology journal and tested on mouse modelsidentified that a probable cause of Alzheimer’s disease was the leakage from blood into the brain of fat-carrying particles transporting toxic proteins. 

Lead investigator Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI) Director Professor John Mamo said his collaborative group of Australian scientists had identified the probable ‘blood-to-brain pathway’ that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, the most prevalent form of dementia globally.

“While we previously knew that the hallmark feature of people living with Alzheimer’s disease was the progressive accumulation of toxic protein deposits within the brain called beta-amyloid, researchers did not know where the amyloid originated from, or why it deposited in the brain,” Professor Mamo said.

“Our research shows that these toxic protein deposits that form in the brains of people living with Alzheimer’s disease most likely leak into the brain from fat carrying particles in blood, called lipoproteins.

“This ‘blood-to-brain pathway’ is significant because if we can manage the levels in blood of lipoprotein-amyloid and prevent their leakage into the brain, this opens up potential new treatments to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and slow memory loss.”

Building on previous award-winning research that showed beta-amyloid is made outside the brain with lipoproteins, Professor Mamo’s team tested the ground-breaking ‘blood-to-brain pathway’ by genetically engineering mouse models to produce human amyloid-only liver that make lipoproteins.

“As we predicted, the study found that mouse models producing lipoprotein-amyloid in the liver suffered inflammation in the brain, accelerated brain cell death, and memory loss,” Professor Mamo said.

“While further studies are now needed, this finding shows the abundance of these toxic protein deposits in the blood could potentially be addressed through a person’s diet and some drugs that could specifically target lipoprotein amyloid, therefore reducing their risk or slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Alzheimer’s WA Chairman Adjunct Professor Warren Harding said the findings may have a significant global impact for the millions of people living with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Having universities like Curtin working with the pharmaceutical industry is important if we are to tackle this devastating disease,” Mr. Harding said.

“In Australia, approximately 250 people are diagnosed with dementia daily, adding to the staggering half a million Australians who are already living with dementia. Without significant medical advances like the breakthrough Professor Mamo’s team has made, it is estimated that the number of Australians living with dementia will exceed one million by 2058. This has a significant impact on families, carers and communities.”

Professor Mamo and his research team’s previous research in this area was awarded the NHMRC-Marshall and Warren Award for the most innovative and potentially transformative research.

Currently, the team is conducting a clinical trial, the Probucol in Alzheimer’s-clinical trial, which is based on previous findings that a historic cardiovascular agent lowers lipoprotein-amyloid production and supports cognitive performance in mice.

For more on this research, see Protein Made in the Liver May Cause Alzheimer’s Disease in the Brain.

Reference: “Synthesis of human amyloid restricted to liver results in an Alzheimer disease–like neurodegenerative phenotype” by Virginie Lam, Ryusuke Takechi, Mark J. Hackett, Roslyn Francis, Michael Bynevelt, Liesl M. Celliers, Michael Nesbit, Somayra Mamsa, Frank Arfuso, Sukanya Das, Frank Koentgen, Maree Hagan, Lincoln Codd, Kirsty Richardson, Brenton O’Mara, Rainer K. Scharli, Laurence Morandeau, Jonathan Gauntlett, Christopher Leatherday, Jan Boucek, John C. L. Mamo, 14 September 2021, PLOS Biology.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001358


View Comments

  • The British Medical Journal 'The Lancet', published a study in 1994, that was picked up by the New York Times, that identified the annual flu shot, as the reason for the onset of Alzheimer's Disease, in later life. They said that the aluminum in the shots breached the brain barrier, and that repeated doses cumulatively degenerated brain function. That study of course has been scrubbed from the archives of both the Journal and the Times.

    • It's been "scrubbed" as you state, because it was found to be completely incorrect as it assumed in a very small study that the flu shot correlated with the onset of alzheimer's. This was found not to be the case whatsoever and was a dangerous assumption so it was removed and for many years while it was still widely available came with a warning that the study was funded by a group selling alternative "cures" for flu, and so had an interest in suppressing use of the vaccine.

  • A very informative study. The summary is too brief and needs to be included some infirmation on preventive measures fir the interest and benefit of common reader

  • This is great research. But the intrusion of faulty amyloid proteins into brain tissue via lipids may have as much (or more) to do with lymphatic circulation than blood circulation. There is both a lymphatic-brain barrier at the meninges and a glymphatic system discovered only a few years ago in addition to the well known blood-brain barrier.
    "Frontiers | CNS-Draining Meningeal Lymphatic Vasculature: Roles, Conundrums and Future Challenges | Pharmacology"

  • "...potentially be addressed through a person’s diet and some drugs that could specifically target lipoprotein amyloid..."
    And those foods that are good/bad are ?

  • Aluminum in brain has always been implicated in Alzheimers. How it gets there is the issue. Sodium Fluoride (not Calcium Fluoride) is the main documented pathway. As per previous comment above, aluminum is also directly added as a vaccine adjuvant to promote general inflammation. Detox with cilantro (slow).

    • No, aluminum has not "always" been linked to Alzheimer's. That was a short-lived hypothesis formulated and debunked in the 1970s. Try to catch up.

  • Thank you for the research and fighting the fight against this devastating disease. My Mom suffered with it for years. It broke my heart to watch her decline. My hope and prayers are with you that we can fight and eradicate this death sentence disease.

  • If the flu shot was responsible for Alzheimer's it would follow that the countries that received the most flu shots in the world would have the highest level of Alzheimer's. You may be interested to know that the highest levels of Alzheimer's in the world are in turkey and Lebanon. Neither of which have any significant amount of flu shots. The highest level of flu shot vaccinations in the world is South Korea. It is important to note that they have very low levels of dementia and Alzheimer's. The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of Love is fear. Hitler did not hate the Jews, Hitler feared the Jews. Stalin did not hate five million Russians, he feared the Russians he killed. Don't make the world a more fearful place. Try to make the world a more loving place.

Curtin University

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