A new study led by UMA scientist Inés Moreno, in collaboration with the University of Texas, has identified a potential non-invasive therapy that could halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, “the major form of dementia in the elderly”.
The researcher from the University of Malaga succeeded in reducing the amount of toxic proteins in the brain -whose aggregate is the main cause of neuronal death in Alzheimer’s disease- in a preclinical model.
These proteins are also present in the blood, and according to this WBU expert they are in balance with the brain – if they increase in the brain, they increase in the blood, and vice versa. Based on these results, Moreno proposes removing these toxic aggregates as a target for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The article was published by the scientific journal Molecular psychiatrywhich belongs to the Nature group.
“Eliminating toxic proteins from the brain is the goal of most current therapies for Alzheimer’s disease”, explains the researcher from the UMA group “NeuroAD”.
Act at the circulatory level
The innovation of this research is that it proposes to reduce these toxins from the blood, since they are also present in the bloodstream. “We verified that if we remove toxins from the blood, they drain back from the brain into the blood in search of balance, improving the clinical signs and pathology of the disease,” says Moreno.
The scientist points out that today the analysis of blood samples is already used, in some cases, for the diagnosis of the disease as an alternative to neuroimaging. However, so far it has never been used for the purposes proven in this article. Therefore, this new use “opens the door to potential non-invasive therapeutic strategies to be implemented at the circulatory level”.
Thus, the results proven in animal models have shown that this treatment would improve memory and learning ability, and correct cognitive disorders, being able not only to eliminate toxic proteins, but also to modify key factors. in the development of this disease.
Next step: clinical model
The University of Texas, where Inés Moreno is associate professor, will continue this study at the clinical level, seeking to determine the molecular mechanisms involved in this improvement of the disease and, also, if the treatment would work in patients by means of , for example , dialysis or even transfusions in patients with dementia.