Research has found that mitochondria, subcellular structures in the brain responsible for metabolising energy, can no longer perform their function if they become abnormally long. Instead, they have a toxic effect within the brain and can cause cell death.
Having identified a target for therapeutic intervention, genetic and drug treatments aimed at reducing mitochondrial length and reversing their toxic effect can now commence.
If successful, they may have major implications for future Alzheimer’s treatments.
Alzheimer’s disease currently affects nearly 280,000 Australians. This figure increased by 1,600 each week and is predicted to reach over 1 million people by 2050.