Pac-man enzyme fights Alzheimer’s

Insulin degrading enzymeThe day the UK’s medicines approval agency NICE, announces that certain Alzheimer’s drugs are to be limited to those in the latter stages of the disease to get the best value for money, I read a Nature press release announcing a novel approach to treating the disease based on supercharging an enzyme that looks like the video game character Pac-man. US researchers have determined the crystal structure of a protein-degrading enzyme as it binds to its natural protein substrates.

Their work suggests a possible way to design drugs that either inhibit the enzyme to slow the degradation of insulin in diabetes or boost its activity to help it clear out amyloid-beta from the brain cells of Alzheimer’s disease sufferers.

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