Researchers in Israel have developed a new technology to deliver medicine to the brains of mice to treat Alzheimers disease (AD). The medicine is a specific protein called neural growth factor (NGF) that has been shown to prevent the death of nerve cells in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. People with Alzheimer’s disease have a buildup in their brains of beta amyloid and tau proteins. The toxic beta amyloid destroys nerve cells in the brain. However, the protein NGF can protect the nerve cells from death. Results of their new technology by researchers at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology and Bar Ilan University were published September 4, 2019 in the journal SMALL. The research was led by Professor Ester Segal.
Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) can Prevent Drugs for Treating Brain Diseases from Entering the Brain
While it was known that neural growth factor protein could prevent the death of brain cells from diseases like Alzheimer’s, no safe way had been found to deliver neural growth factor across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) into the brain. The blood brain barrier protects the brain from bacteria and dangerous substances in the blood. However, the blood brain barrier can also prevent drugs for treating brain diseases from entering the brain. The researchers have found a way to deliver the neural growth factor protein directly to the brains of mice without having to cross the blood brain barrier.
Nanoscale Silicon Chip Inserted Directly into the Brain or by “Gene Gun”
The researchers use nanoscale silicon chips inserted directly into the mouse brain or by a “gene gun” to deliver the neural growth factor protein that can stop the destruction of nerve cells (neurons). Once the protein has been delivered to the brain, the nanoscale silicon chips break down and dissolve.
Both methods led to improvement in the mice.
More Research is Needed
More research testing with animals is needed and hopefully there will also be human trials. If this treatment could be used successfully in humans, it could stop the progressive damage of Alzheimer’s disease.
Other Alzheimer’s treatments that worked with mice did not work with humans. Several possible treatments are still undergoing research and trials. See our blog post from February 28, 2018 about other possible treatments that are still undergoing research.
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most commonly found dementia. Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease. This means that it originates in the brain. According to the National Institute on Aging, more than 5.7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that gets worse over time. Alzheimer’s disease slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s the symptoms first appear in their mid-60s.
Alzheimer’s disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but recent estimates indicate that the disorder may rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death for older people. The NIA believes that many cases of Alzheimer’s dementia do not get reported.
Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of daily living.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Memory loss
- Personality changes
- Psychiatric problems like hallucinations
- Sleep disorders
A Residential Memory Care Solution
If your loved one has Alzheimer’s you may need to seek long-term care in a skilled nursing care facility that specializes in memory care like
the Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Galloway Township, New Jersey.
Royal Suites has state-of-the-art memory care for people with Alzheimer’s like a Snoezelen Room. See our blog post from May 29, 2018 to read more about memory care at Royal Suites.
Let us hope that this new treatment may turn out to be effective in humans and not just in mice.