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Starting Again on Alzheimer's

Nobel Prize-winning scientist Paul Greengard has discovered a new way for researchers to target Alzheimer's disease. Beta amyloid, the plaque that builds up in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, has long been targeted by researchers. Now Greengard has discovered a new protein that is needed to make beta amyloid, reports the New York Times' Gina Kolata. Many Alzheimer's drugs currently being studied target the enzyme gamma secretase, which helps make beta amyloid. However, Kolata says, gamma secretase also serves crucial functions in the body, and efforts to block it have caused other problems. Greengard's "gamma secretase activating protein" tells the enzyme to make beta amyloid, and since it's used by the enzyme for this purpose only, suppressing it doesn't have any effect on other gamma secretase activity, Kolata says. Greengard has so far only experimented with blocking this new protein in mice, but has had some encouraging results, which appear in Nature this week.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.