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C. Designing Therapeutic Drugs to Target a Variety of Diseases

Narrator: This is Science Today. In a first study of its kind, researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, identified the major components of drusen, a plaque deposit linked to age-related macular degeneration, a disease that leads to loss of central vision. Lincoln Johnson, of the university's Neuroscience Research Institute, led the study.

Johnson: Once we had a handle on what we thought the major components were and began comparing those with other deposits, it became pretty clear that they were very similar to those in Alzheimer's and also, those that occur in atherosclerosis and other kinds of amyloid diseases.

Narrator: Johnson says the disease processes in the body are probably similar from organ to organ, but what's different is there may be different organ-specific molecules that trigger these responses.

Johnson: If we can design therapeutics, which get at the basic mechanisms of these disease processes, maybe we have the ability to disease therapeutics that could combat a wide variety of diseases, instead of designing therapeutics that might be, say an Alzheimer's or macular degeneration drug.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.