New Database Could Lead to Preventative Treatments for Degenerative Diseases

The database compiles proteins involved with autophagy.

Researchers created a new database of proteins needed for autophagy, a critical cellular process that declines as we age.

During autophagy, cells consume parts of themselves that are toxic or damaged, which could lead to diseases if left alone. Since this process declines with age, it makes humans prone to disease and degenerative conditions.

In a study published by Autophagy, researchers identified 700 previously undiscovered proteins related to the process. Researchers then created a new database to contain this information.

This database could lead to preventative treatments for cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers believe that an understanding of these proteins could prevent the decline in autophagy, and prevent other age-related conditions as well as bacterial infections.

"Our novel database resource will open a lot of new avenues in basic and translational science. Identifying novel selective autophagy-related proteins will help for the development of novel pharmaceutical drug targets for a large variety of diseases like cancer, neurodegeneration and other ageing-related diseases, infections, diabetes, obesity and Crohn's disease,” said lead researcher Ioannis Nezis, PhD. “Importantly, understanding the molecular mechanisms of selective autophagy will help researchers to find interventions to activate the autophagic pathway to prevent ageing and promote healthy well-being during the life course.”