Researchers from EARA members the University of Zurich and the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Switzerland, have found human naturally occurring antibodies which specifically target the proteins that can trigger forms of neurodegenerative disease.
The proteins, called prions, can cause normal proteins in the brain to ‘misfold’, causing disorders such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). Other neurogenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s, are also associated with misfolded proteins, hence this discovery could provide insights into a variety of neurological conditions.
“Antibody‐based immunotherapy might be an efficient way for the treatment of prion diseases, for which no cure exists,” write the authors of the study.
Previous studies using mice and human cells found administering anti-prion antibodies to be effective, which combined with this discovery highlights that therapeutics could be developed to treat the deadly disorders prions can cause.