Vanderbilt doctors find breakthrough Alzheimer's research - WSMV News 4

Vanderbilt doctors hope Alzheimer's research will bring treatments

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There's exciting news from Vanderbilt for any family that's been touched by Alzheimer's. Area researchers at the medical center said they've made breakthroughs in how Alzheimer's works. Their hope is these studies will lead to treatments.

"Every dog has its day, but it is a very good day today," said Vanderbilt professor of biochemistry Charles Sanders.

Sanders' research appeared in the journal Science Friday.

"What we found is cholesterol binds to a C99 protein," said Sanders. "We believe that when the cholesterol binds to that protein, it actually triggers the clipping of the protein, which leads to Alzheimer's disease."

Sanders said his team's discovery is helping put a puzzle together.

"We believe that if you had a drug blocking cholesterol binding to this molecule, it would lower the risk for the disease," said Sanders.

According to Sanders, this big step toward possibly treating Alzheimer's has a profound meaning to him. His own father has been diagnosed with the disease.

"Medical research gives all of us hope," said Sanders. "With hope, it's always tempered by the fact we have to be patient, keep working on these problems until we finally reach a desired therapeutic to treat or prevent Alzheimer's."

Sanders' study started six years ago and was funded by Vanderbilt, the National Institute of Health and the Alzheimer's Association. In response to the study, the Alzheimer's Association said both their organization and the families they represent congratulate the researchers. They are excited by what the research could bring.

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