Please find the attached documents. I will be happy to help you for any clarifications.
What it is you’re researching?
Alzheimer’s disease is a complex disease that affects nerve cells in many parts of the brain, making
effective treatment very challenging. Can stem cell research help us tackle this challenge of Alzheimer’s
disease treatment in the future?
Description and overview of Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia. People affected by AD experience
memory loss, confusion and mood swings. The disease affects the nerve cells in many parts of
The cause of AD is still unknown, but several theories focus on two proteins, called ‘amyloid
beta’ and ‘tau’, which are found in deteriorating areas of an AD brain.
Clumps of amyloid beta proteins form plaques that may prevent neurons from sending signals
Tau protein is important for normal cell function, but researchers think that when tau gets
gnarled up into ‘tau tangles’ it prevents neurons from getting nutrition.
There is currently no cure for AD.
Worldwide, nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia and they are
the top cause for disabilities in later life. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
Only 1-in-4 people with Alzheimer’s disease have been diagnosed. (Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s and dementia is most common in Western Europe (North America is close behind).
Alzheimer’s is least prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
Estimates suggest that up to around 1.5% of people aged 65-69 and around 25-30% of 90-yearolds have Alzheimer’s disease. Women are more likely to be affected than men,and genetics (i.e.
family history) also play an important role, alongside many other factors like ageing.
Challenges for the treatment:
AD brains make smaller amounts of neurotrophins, proteins that help neurons grow and survive.
Studies are examining ways to produce more neurotrophins in AD patient brains.
No stem cell treatments are currently approved for AD. Positive effects have been seen with
neural stem cell transplants given to mice with a disease similar to AD, but researchers are still
studying what these stem cells are doing and how they might help repair the brain.
Currently available drugs and stem cell research for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
Researchers are using induced pluripotent stem cells to grow neurons that have the same
genetic background as people affected by AD so they can study the disease. . These lab-grown
stem cells are made by ‘reprogramming’ specialised cells such as skin cells. The resulting iPS cells
can produce all the different types of cells in the body. This means they could act as a source of
cells that are otherwise difficult to obtain, such as the neurons found in the brain.
Drugs (cholinesterase inhibitors (e.g. Aricept, Exelon, Reminyl)) are available that can help with
some of the symptoms temporarily, for example by improving memory or the ability to manage
everyday tasks. They can help prevent the breakdown of a natural substance in the brain called
acetylcholine, which carries signals between neurons.
However, there are no drugs that delay or halt the loss of neurons. Over the last two decades
extensive research and drug development efforts have identifi...