New hope for Alzheimer's in Gene Therapy

Early limited human trials are looking hopeful for using modified genetic material to help Alzheimer’s patients.

“The tissue was modified in the lab to express nerve growth factor (NGF), a naturally occurring protein that prevents cell death and stimulates cell function. In surgeries that took place in 2001 and 2002…the genetically modified tissue was implanted deep within the brains of the eight patients…”

Admittedly, 8 isn’t much of a test population, but the cognitive improvements were so encouraging that “a new Phase I/II study using direct NGF gene delivery to the brain, thereby eliminating the need for grafting cells, is currently underway at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago…”

Another one of the miracles science is discovering every day. For those who just lost a loved one to this mysterious disease that so ravages both patient and family, this news may be hard to hear. But ’tis ever the way. We learn things too late for so many–and just in time for others.