SINGAPORE: A groundbreaking discovery by researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) promises to revolutionize the treatment of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s. The local research team from NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine has identified a pivotal protein responsible for regulating and transporting cholesterol within cells, offering new avenues for therapeutic development.

Cholesterol, a fundamental component within all cells in the human body, plays a vital role in various physiological processes. It aids in the construction of new cells, the synthesis of essential hormones, and the production of substances that bolster the immune system’s defences. Maintaining normal cholesterol levels within cells is paramount, as deviations can lead to a range of debilitating diseases, such as heart disease and dementia.

Over a span of three years, the dedicated research team at NTU delved into the intricate mechanisms governing cholesterol regulation within cells. Employing cutting-edge cholesterol probes with remarkable sensitivity, they successfully pinpointed three key proteins central to this process. These proteins have been identified as Oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP), Oxysterol-binding protein-related protein 9 (ORP9), and Gram-containing protein domains of proteins 1 (GRAMD1s).

This remarkable discovery opens doors to a deeper understanding of how cholesterol is managed within cells, particularly how these crucial proteins operate. By unravelling the intricate workings of OSBP, ORP9, and GRAMD1s, the researchers aim to manipulate their activity effectively. Their primary objective is to enable damaged cells to regulate cholesterol more efficiently, aiming to develop innovative therapies for countering dementia and heart disease.

The implications of this research are profound, offering hope for millions of individuals affected by diseases associated with cholesterol dysregulation. As the research team proceeds with further investigations, the scientific community eagerly anticipates the potential breakthroughs that may emerge from this pivotal discovery, bringing us one step closer to conquering heart disease and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s.