REST Protein May Play Protective Role Against Alzheimer's and Other Dementias

Posted: Mar. 20, 2014

Bruce Yankner, M.D., Ph.D., led a recent study (not funded by Cure Alzheimer's Fund) on a protein called REST. His results suggest that this protein may protect neurons from damage such as oxidative stress and inflammation. The study also gives us clues as to why plaques and tangles, two well-known features of Alzheimer's pathology, may not always cause cognitive decline.

However, it is unclear whether REST is only relevant to neurological diseases, or if it serves many other functions in the body, which would make it more difficult to single out for use in therapies. Dr. Sam Gandy, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai and member of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund’s Research Consortium, expressed this concern to the New York Times. “Is this really a way that advances our understanding of the disease or does this just tell us this is even more complicated than we thought?” he asks.

Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is excited to see more research into this topic in coming years, and hopes it proves valuable in both furthering our understanding of Alzheimer’s and developing effective therapies.

Read the New York Times' full story on REST here.

An abstract of Yankner's paper is available here.