Gene shows the way to a cure against Alzheimer's

Science Illustrated - - SCIENCE UPDATE -

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.

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