Two new treatments are currently being tested for the merciless Alzheimer’s disease that affects 5.3 million Americans. The telomerase treatment and the ultrasound technology might give hope to people suffering from the incurable condition.
The numbers of those who develop Alzheimer’s is expected to triple by the year 2050, and thus researchers are hard at work on finding a cure or sure methods to prevent it.
Dr. Michael Fossel, co-founder of Telocyte, a bio-tech company, has recently sent a petition to the FDA in order to begin human testing of the telomerase treatment, which he believes will cure the terrible disease. After studying the process of aging for more than thirty years, Fossel has reached the conclusion that the telomerase enzyme can conquer several aging diseases.
Telomeres are DNA pieces that keep the youth of particular cells. If all cells from the human body would produce telomerase, aging diseases would disappear, and the life spans would be greatly extended. The matter is being investigated by other researchers from the Stanford University, who are now studying the RNA protein, supposed to extend the telomeres’ length.
According to Stanford professor of immunology and microbiology Helen Blau,
“We have found a way to lengthen human telomeres by as much as 1,000 nucleotides, turning back the internal clock in these cells by the equivalent of many years of human life.”
The second treatment currently being tested is the ultrasound technology. Researchers working at the University of Queensland’s Brain Institute in Australia have created a non-invasive ultrasound meant to break the amyloid plaques that clog the brain in Alzheimer’s disease. The tests were performed on mice, and the results were very positive: 75 percent of the mice with Alzheimer’s recovered their function of memory. Furthermore, the normal brain tissue was not affected in any harmful way.
Ultrasound technology sends sound waves into brain tissue. In this way, the blood-brain barrier is unlocked. However, this also impedes any drugs from entering the brain, and thus traditional medicine would not have any effect.
Researchers plan to continue their tests on larger animals until 2017, when they hope to start the human trials. Professor Jürgen Götz is of the opinion that the breakthrough fundamentally changes the way we can treat the mental disease.
Others are also hard at work on developing treatments. Gene therapies are currently being investigated for their capability of preventing the apparition of amyloid plaque, and immune cells such as B-cells, NK-cells and T-cells can also contribute to getting rid of this plaque.
Image Source: Let How
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