Genentech unveils new pathway for Alzheimer's

Genentech researchers say they've found a completely new pathway to approach the development of drugs to counter Alzheimer's disease. Until now, many in the field have assumed that Alzheimer's is the result of the buildup of beta amyloid in the brain. At Genentech, though, scientists say that the normal prenatal cleanup of excess nerve cells and fibers is reactivated in adults, killing cells and triggering Alzheimer's.

"Alzheimer's is not just bad luck, but rather it is the activation of a pathway that is there for development purposes," Marc Tessier-Lavigne, executive vice president, research drug discovery at Genentech, tells the Wall Street Journal. "It suggests a different way of looking at Alzheimer's disease."

Their hunt has centered on a fragment of amyloid precursor protein called N-APP that could be responsible for the disease. And Genentech has identified experimental therapies that could be used in a radical new approach to prevent Alzheimer's or address symptoms.

- read the article from the Wall Street Journal