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Science Daily (December 4, 2009): New Therapy Targets for Amyloid Disease
A major discovery is challenging accepted thinking about amyloids -- the fibrous protein deposits associated with diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's -- and may open up a potential new area for therapeutics.
It was believed that amyloid fibrils -- rope-like structures made up of proteins sometimes known as fibres -- are inert, but there may be toxic phases during their formation which can damage cells and cause disease.
But in a paper published December 4, 2009 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, scientists at the University of Leeds have shown that amyloid fibres are in fact toxic -- and that the shorted the fibre, the more toxic it becomes.
"This is a major step forward in our understanding of amyloid fibrils which play a role in such a number of diseases," said Professor Sheena Radford of the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology and the Faculty of Biological Sciences.