Recent Alzheimer’s research highlights a promising shift toward targeting the early aggregation of the amyloid beta (A-beta) protein, particularly its soluble oligomeric form. Traditional treatments focused on fibrillar A-beta have been largely ineffective. However, recent studies emphasize the importance of addressing soluble oligomeric A-beta to combat cognitive decline and neurotoxicity in Alzheimer’s.

A breakthrough treatment involves an antibody capable of recognizing both oligomeric and fibrillar A-beta forms, offering hope to the field. This therapy has shown promising results, delaying disease progression by up to 36% in individuals with early-to-mild cognitive impairment.

Building upon this momentum, a collaborative effort between Israeli and Italian researchers has led to the development of a new treatment strategy targeting the early-stage aggregation of A-beta before the formation of toxic oligomers. By harnessing the power of nanotechnology and ultra-low-energy X-rays, the researchers have successfully inhibited the aggregation and toxicity of A-beta in preclinical models, offering a potential avenue for early intervention in Alzheimer’s disease.

Shai Rahimipour, PhD, of Israel’s Bar-Ilan Universitys Department of Chemistry, together with Italian scientists Angelo Monguzzi and Marcello Campione from the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy, designed nanoparticles with high affinity to the early-stage soluble A-beta, which, when activated by ultra-low-energy X-rays, effectively halt the aggregation process. “This approach has shown promising results in neuronal cell cultures and animal models, offering new possibilities for early intervention in Alzheimer’s disease,” says Rahimipour.

The unique advantage of this approach lies in its potential to selectively target and irradiate the affected regions of the brain, minimizing the risk of side effects associated with traditional antibody-based therapies. Furthermore, preliminary studies have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of the nanoparticles and the low-energy X-rays in preclinical models, paving the way for further exploration in human clinical trials.

“Our ultimate goal is to develop a safe and effective treatment for individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, with a focus on those at high risk, such as those with familial Alzheimer’s,” says Rahimipour. “By targeting the early-stage aggregation of A-beta, we aim to prevent disease progression and improve the quality of life for patients and their families.”

The research team holds a patent for the technology and the nanoparticles, which are composed of hydrated magnesium silicate, and has demonstrated blood-brain barrier permeability in animal models. Further research is underway to optimize the treatment regimen and assess its long-term efficacy in clinical settings.