Gene shows the way to a cure against Alzheimer's
The brains of the millions of people who are annually diagnosed with Alzheimer's are slowly withering away, but now, American gene researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US might have found a cure.
Studies have shown that people with the APOE4 gene variant suffer a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s than individuals with the more common APOE3 variant. So, the scientists cultivated two types of brain cells in the lab: a portion of each gene variant. After a while, the brain tissue with APOE4 was filled with plaque, which is a sign of Alzheimer’s. The scientists now changed APOE4 into APOE3 by means of the CRISPR method that allowed them to replace DNA sequences in the genes of cells. The change had a drastic effect: the plaque formation did not only stop, it shrank.
So, APOE3 seems able to clean up brain tissue that has already started to wither. The scientists emphasize that the cleanup involves complex interaction between many genes, but APOE3 could be the key to a future gene therapy against hereditary Alzheimer’s. The method might both cure and prevent the disease.
Alzheimer's victims produce plaque in their brains (orange), but scientists might have a cure.