Researchers have prevented the development of Alzheimer’s disease in mice by using a virus to deliver a specific gene into the brain.
The early-stage findings, by scientists from Imperial College London, open avenues for potential new treatments for the disease.
The team injected the virus, containing the gene PGC-1 – alpha, into two areas of the brain in mice susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease.
The areas targeted were the hippocampus and the cortex, as these are the first regions to develop amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr Magdalena Sastre…from the Department of Medicine at Imperial…hopes the new findings may one day provide a method of preventing the disease, or halting it in the early stages.
Although these findings are very early they suggest this gene therapy may have potential therapeutic use for patients. There are many hurdles to overcome, and at the moment the only way to deliver the gene is via an injection directly into the brain. However this proof of concept study shows this approach warrants further investigation.
The team suggest injections of the gene would be most beneficial in the early stages of the disease, when the first symptoms appear.
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