New Gene Therapy May Help Alzheimer Patients

New Gene Therapy May Help Alzheimer Patients

New Gene Therapy May Help Alzheimer Patients - Gene Therapy Prevents Memory Problems In Mice With AlzheimerUS scientists have revealed a new method for the treatment of memory problems faced by people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, using gene therapy. The technique has been tested successfully in mice and is being further developed to treat humans.

The gene therapy technique employed on laboratory mice increased the levels of a certain chemical compound which helps brain cells in sending messages/signals to each other. The root cause of Alzheimer’s disease is that the brain cells cannot signal each other properly as they would in healthy functioning brains.

The study conducted by the US scientists has found a way for the brain cells to communicate with each other without any hindrance. By increasing the levels of a neurotransmitter called EphB2 in the brain, the effects of the mentally debilitating disease could be reduced greatly or even prevented altogether. The research thus clearly indicates that EphB2 is the chemical which is crucial for memory and it is found that Alzheimer’s patients have a low level of this chemical in their brains.

The research also showed that brains of Alzheimer’s patients had a build up of “plaques” created by a toxic protein known as amyloid which causes the degeneration and destruction of brain cells over a period of time. Amyloid also binds with EphB2 limiting its production/ availability in the brain leading to memory problems.

In laboratory tests, gene therapy was used to decrease the levels of the chemical found in the brains of healthy mice, which led them to exhibit memory behaviour similar to that of mice with Alzheimer’s. Then mice which had Alzheimer’s disease were treated to increase levels of the chemical in their brains. This led the memory symptoms to disappear completely. This has led scientists to believe that increasing levels of EphB2 or increasing EphB2 functions with medicines may be of use in relieving Alzheimer’s patients of their memory symptoms.

Thus scientists have made findings of the research public which is a significant yet small step in finding a complete treatment for the disease. While finding a treatment based on these findings may take some time but it is definitely a sliver of hope for those who might be affected by the disease.

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