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In the Pursuit of Dangerous Clumps: Customized Surfaces Help Reveal the Causes of Diseases

Extract Press Release - 28.07.2011

In the Pursuit of Dangerous Clumps: Customized Surfaces Help Reveal the Causes of Diseases

When normal proteins form protein clumps in the body, then alarm bells start ringing. Such clumps, called “amyloids,” are closely associated with Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes. If doctors knew how these proteins form clumps, then they might be able to treat such diseases more efficiently. The physicist Adrian Keller and his colleagues at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf and the university in Aarhus, Denmark, have succeeded in taking a major step in that direction.

The cell surface assumes a major role in this because the proteins are deposited there and form clumps. In type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s, amyloids form on specific cells of the pancreas and the brain, respectively. Even with modern high-performance instruments, it is not possible to observe these processes within the body. Scientists like Adrian Keller, who currently pursues his research at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center “iNano” in Aarhus, are actually attempting to recreate these processes with real proteins on artificial surfaces in the lab.

Source: HZDR

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