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Scientists follow the data to a surprise

Memphis, Tennessee, June 27, 2019

Drs. Douglas Green and Bradlee Heckmann

First author Bradlee Heckmann, PhD (right), a postdoctoral fellow in Doug Green's (left) laboratory at St. Jude, led research showing how the LANDO pathway in brain immune cells may protect against Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers studying the immune response to cancer have discovered a pathway that protects mice from Alzheimer’s disease.

The pathway works by preventing the buildup of a protein called β-amyloid. The protein accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and disrupts brain function. The buildup is a hallmark of the disease.

The shorthand name for the pathway is LANDO. This pathway also regulates inflammation, which can help rally the immune system against cancer. Chronic inflammation contributes to diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Without LANDO, β-amyloid accumulated rapidly in the mouse brains. The mice showed signs of memory loss and other problems that mimic Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers are exploring ways to regulate the pathway.

“That’s how science works,” said Douglas Green, PhD, St. Jude Immunology chair. “When you follow the data you never know where it will lead.”

Cell published a report on this work.

Read the news release.

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