JUL 31, 2020 3:03 PM PDT

Researchers Reverse Advanced Alzheimer's in Mice

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Researchers from Macquarie University have found a way to reverse the effects of memory loss in mice with advanced dementia using gene therapy. 

Gene therapy is the process in which genetic material is introduced to cells, usually via a viral vector, to replace abnormal genes and make beneficial proteins that correct various conditions. 

Lars and Arne Ittner, brothers and researchers from Macquarie's Dementia Research Centre, have been researching dementia treatments for over a decade. Their recent research builds upon work begun in 2016 involving a gene therapy that uses an enzyme that occurs naturally in the brain, p38gamma. 

All in all, the brothers found that activating p38gamma both prevented and reversed memory-related effects in mice with advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease. After just two months of treatment, they said that the mice, 'at very old ages, suddenly behaved like their normal siblings'.

 Their findings also suggest that the therapy could be effective for other forms of dementia too, such as frontotemporal dementia, which occurs in younger people in their 40's and 50's. The researchers also showed that the gene therapy is safe when taken at high doses over the long term, and has no adverse side effects. 

"When we set out to develop this gene therapy we expected it to halt progression of dementia, but we were not expecting to see that it not only halts it, it completely reverted the memory loss that was already there when we started therapy." says Professor Lars Ittner.

The researchers are now looking to transition into human trials. To do so, both the researchers and the university are currently exploring partnerships with potential investors with pharmaceutical partners. 

"It will be exciting to see how over 10 years of basic research to understand the mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease will finally transition into clinical development to eventually benefit those most in need, people living with dementia," adds Professor Lars Ittner.

 

Sources: Macquarie UniversityMedical XpressNeuroscience News

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
NOV 12, 2020
Technology
The Crossover of Virtual Reality and Drug Discovery
NOV 12, 2020
The Crossover of Virtual Reality and Drug Discovery
Researchers have recently developed a unique virtual reality (VR) tool that can help in drug development? Particularly, ...
NOV 02, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Potential Therapy for Alzheimer Disease
NOV 02, 2020
Potential Therapy for Alzheimer Disease
A main characteristic of Alzheimer disease is an aggregate of a protein (peptide) clump in the brain leading to memory l ...
DEC 10, 2020
Immunology
Drug Turns Back the Clock in Aged Brains
DEC 10, 2020
Drug Turns Back the Clock in Aged Brains
When faced with stressful stimuli — anything from oxygen or nutrient deprivation to viral infections — cells ...
DEC 09, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Rapid-Release Capsule for IBS
DEC 09, 2020
Rapid-Release Capsule for IBS
Researchers have developed a rapid-release capsule to treat symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS- ...
DEC 28, 2020
Immunology
Inhaling a Puff of Llama Antibodies to Relieve COVID
DEC 28, 2020
Inhaling a Puff of Llama Antibodies to Relieve COVID
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have identified new antibody-based weapons in the fight against COVID-19 ...
JAN 19, 2021
Immunology
Food Allergies Be Gone: Nanoparticles Call for an Immune Ceasefire
JAN 19, 2021
Food Allergies Be Gone: Nanoparticles Call for an Immune Ceasefire
Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish—these foods are among the most unwanted list for t ...
Loading Comments...