AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 1, 2017

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Alzheimer's Disease Could be Treated With Gene Therapy, Suggests Animal Study

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Researchers have prevented the development of Alzheimer’s disease in mice by using a virus to deliver a specific gene into the brain

The early-stage findings, by scientists from Imperial College London, open avenues for potential new treatments for the disease. Previous studies by the same team suggest this gene, called PGC1-alpha, may prevent the formation of a protein called amyloid-beta peptide in cells in the lab. Amyloid-beta peptide is the main component of amyloid plaques, the sticky clumps of protein found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. These plaques are thought to trigger the death of brain cells. 

Alzheimer’s disease affects around 520,000 people in the U.K. Symptoms include memory loss, confusion and change in mood or personality. Worldwide 47.5 million people are affected by dementia – of which Alzheimer’s is the most common form.

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