Professor Arun Ghosh of Purdue University and Jordan Tang of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation developed the drug CTS-21166 – an Alzheimer’s disease drug that could prevent and reverse this neurogenerative disease, as opposed to currently available drugs that only manages the symptoms.
The said drug was the result of Tang’s identification in 2000 of a beta-secretase, a key enzyme in the progression of Alzheimer’s that triggers the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain and Ghosh later building a molecule that binds to the enzyme and inhibits its activity.
According to Professor Ghosh:
“These molecules fit together like puzzle pieces. We created a molecule that fits with a key piece of the Alzheimer’s disease puzzle. When the treatment molecule binds to the enzyme, it changes the shape of that puzzle piece so that it no longer fits in its original spot. This halts the chain reaction that leads to the devastating symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
The molecule is both highly potent and highly selective, meaning it does not appear to affect other enzymes important to brain function or cause harmful side effects. It took years of work and evaluation of hundreds of molecules to achieve one with the strength and safety necessary for clinical potential.”