Researchers use GM rice to decrease protein linked to Alzheimer's disease

02.09.2011

A Japanese research team has succeeded in curbing a protein associated with Alzheimer's disease using genetically modified rice, raising hopes for the development of new oral medicines.

The brains of Alzheimer's disease patients contain deposits called senile plaques, formed by a type of protein known as beta amyloid. It is believed that an accumulation of beta amyloid in the brain leads to Alzheimer's disease through a series of stages.

The Japanese research team including University of Tokyo professor Shoichi Ishiura had been working on oral vaccines to produce antibodies that attacked beta amyloid, thereby preventing a buildup of the protein. In past methods, they had ground up the leaves of sweet pepper plants that had been modified to contain beta amyloid and given them to mice with Alzheimer's disease. This resulted in the amount of beta amyloid in their brains decreasing.

Read more on The Mainichi Daily News website