Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (Oklahoma City, OK) has patented methods for the production of purified, catalytically active, recombinant memapsin 2
. The substrate and subsite specificity of the catalytically active enzyme have been determined.
Scientists at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF), Oklahoma City, have successfully designed a highly potent inhibitor for Memapsin 2, the enzyme believed to be directly responsible for Alzheimer's disease.
The enzyme and inhibitor concept for Memapsin 2 is similar to the protease inhibitors created to fight HIV and AIDS.
Because Memapsin 2 only cuts the larger protein in a very specific place, Tang and his team were able to create a "decoy," whose chemical structure resembled the area where Memapsin 2 always cuts.
The inhibitor acts as a sticky substance, similar to a "chemical chewing gum." Once Memapsin 2 adheres to the decoy, the enzyme is completely disabled.