UK scientists develop gene therapy to successfully treat early stages Alzheimer's disease
Scientists created a modified virus that contains the PGC1-alpha gene, which prevents the formation of amyloid plaques. Amyloid plaques are said to cause the death of brain cells.
LONDON — Researchers from Imperial College London have developed a gene therapy that has successfully prevented the development of Alzheimer’s disease in mice.
To treat the disease, scientists created a modified a virus using a lentivirus vector in order to target specific cells. This modified virus also contained a gene called PGC1-alpha, which is said to prevent the formation of amyloid-beta peptide, a protein that causes amyloid plaques. Amyloid plaques are commonly found in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease, and are said to cause brain cell death.
The modified virus was delivered directly into the brains of mice suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s.
Lab results showed the mice with the PGC1-alpha gene developed very few amyloid plaques, while the untreated mice had multiple plagues after four months.
The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The brain of a mouse that did not receive the gene therapy (Image 1) had more amyloid plaques than a mouse that did receive gene therapy (Image 2). IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON
Previous studies suggest physical exercise and the compound resveratrol, which is found in red wine, may also increase levels of PGC1-alpha in human body. FACEBOOK / ALZHEIMER'S RESEARCH UK
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