Seol: Korean scientists have genetically modified tomatoes to produce a prototype vacinne against Alzheimer’s Disease.
The disease, kills brain cells when a sticky plaque known as beta-amyloid protein clogs up nerve connections.
And the disease, which starts with short-term memory loss and leads to death, is on the increase as people live longer.Current drugs do not prevent or cure it but only slow its progress.
The researchers from the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology say they have genetically modified the fruit to create an edible vaccine that fires up the immune system to fight the disease.
To create the vaccine, the scientists combined the gene behind the beta-amyloid protein with the tomato’s genetic code.They then used mice to experiment with the designer tomatoes.
Blood samples taken from the mice revealed the tomatoes triggered their immune systems to release disease-fighting antibodies, although the levels of plaques in the brain were not reduced.
They said the tomato was a good way of getting a vaccine into the body because it was enjoyable to eat and could be eaten raw.The vaccine could be destroyed if the tomatoes were cooked, they added.
Tomatoes are already known as a natural antioxidant. They cut cholesterol and may help prevent some cancers (prostate, rectal and colon), protect against sunburn and are packed with vitamin C. The active ingredient is called lycopene which is responsible for the red colour.