Alzheimer's disease cure: 2 new studies may have found ways to treat the disease

  • comments
  • print
  • email
Nov 07, 2015 05:01 AM EST

More than 5 million people in the U.S. are suffering from Alzheimer's disease, experts say and ranks as the sixth leading cause of death in the country today.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia which is associated with the loss of cognitive functioning, such as thinking, remembering, and reasoning. It could also affect the behavior of a patient leading to a significant decrease in the quality of life. It is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory, according to the National Institute on Aging of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

With the staggering data on Alzheimer's and the fact that no treatment for prevention, let alone cure has been known as of yet, any fresh development in the research regarding the disease is most certainly welcome.

Two new studies are shedding a positive light on a possible treatment for Alzheimer's disease. The first one courtesy of the researchers from the University of Southampton which may have found a way to eliminate the side effects from the immunotherapy treatment of Alzheimer's, EurkAlert reported.

Immunotherapy is a potential treatment that makes use of antibodies to stimulate the immune system to remove amyloid beta, the abnormal plaques of protein accumulating in the brain that can lead to its damage. Although the removal of plaques were successful, the process causes inflammatory side effects such as small bleeds and dangerous brain swelling.

The researchers have now found a strategy to use antibody engineering to address the side effects through small and precise modification in the antibodies.

"New antibodies are entering the clinic for Alzheimer's disease; therefore, it is important to learn all we can from research into these novel interventions and use antibody engineering technology to optimize their effects," said Dr. Jessica Teeling, associate professor in Immunology at The Centre for Biological Sciences.

Meanwhile, according to recent findings of another team of researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center, the immune system of our brain can help in treating Alzheimer's disease by removing amyloid plaque buildup, TheNewsIndependent wrote.

They found out that by activating the microglia cells, which serves as a first line of defense against any infections and injury, in the brain of mice, almost 60 percent of the amyloid plaques were cleared. Dr. Kerry O'Banion, lead author of the study, said that, although, there is a need for further studies, the results were encouraging as it provides a new treatment strategy on Alzheimer's disease.

"This research confirms earlier observations that, when activated to fight inflammation, the brain's immune system plays a role in the removal of amyloid beta. We have also demonstrated that the immune system can be manipulated in a manner that accelerates this process, potentially pointing to a new therapeutic approach to Alzheimer's disease."

Join the Conversation
Real Time Analytics