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Antibodies to fight Alzheimer’s may have unexpected consequences

Treatment that targets amyloid-beta plaque buildup makes mouse nerve cells hyperactive

By
11:00am, November 9, 2015

In an unexpected twist, two antibodies designed to fight Alzheimer’s disease instead made nerve cells in mice misbehave more.

The results, published online November 9 in Nature Neuroscience, highlight how little is known about how these drugs actually work, says study coauthor Marc Aurel Busche of Technical University Munich. “We need to understand what these antibodies do in the brains of patients better,” he says.

The treatment approach relies on antibodies that target amyloid-beta, a protein that builds up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. One of the antibodies used in the new study, bapineuzumab, failed to show benefits in much-anticipated trials described in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2014.

Despite that setback, some researchers say antibodies are still the best

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