【World Tide of Technological Innovation】

  ◎Our reporter Liu Xia

  Alzheimer's disease (senile dementia) has been on the human spectrum for 115 years since the first officially recorded case was reported at a medical conference and is one of the most devastating diseases in the world.

  Scientists have worked hard for decades to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease, with little success -- the only drug currently approved to treat the disease only temporarily relieves some symptoms.

However, Dr. Mark Dallas, a neuroscientist at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, recently told the British "Daily Mail" that with the continuous emergence and improvement of some new treatments, scientists will be in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease in the next decade. a major breakthrough.


  In November, Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston announced it would be the first to launch the first human trial of a nasal vaccine against Alzheimer's disease, designed to prevent or slow the progression of the disease.

  Sticky plaques are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

Plaques form when beta-amyloid builds up between nerve cells, which can disrupt a person's ability to think or recall information.

With that in mind, the vaccine sprays a drug called Protollin directly into the nose, designed to activate immune cells to remove plaque.

  The Phase I clinical trial enrolled 16 patients with early-stage asymptomatic Alzheimer's disease aged between 60 and 85, who will receive two doses of the nasal vaccine one week apart.

  It is reported that researchers have been conducting preclinical work on this vaccine for nearly 20 years, and two phase trials will be conducted in the future to test the safety and efficacy of the drug.

  Antibody therapy

  Currently the most promising antibody for Alzheimer's disease is TAP01, which was jointly developed by British and German researchers.

  Professor Thomas Baier from the University of Göttingen said: "We discovered an antibody in mice that neutralised the truncated form of soluble beta-amyloid, but not the normal form of the protein or plaques. Combine."

  The team then tested the "humanized" antibodies in two different mouse models of Alzheimer's disease and found that the antibodies helped restore neuronal function, increase glucose metabolism in the brain, and restore memory loss.

  Professor Mark Carr, an expert in chemical biology at the University of Leicester, added: "While this research is still in its early stages, it could be revolutionary if these results can be replicated in human clinical trials."

  In addition, in March of this year, global pharmaceutical giant Roche announced the initiation of a clinical trial called SKYLINE to verify the therapeutic effect of a new anti-amyloid antibody administered subcutaneously with gantenerumab, an investigational drug previously It has been granted breakthrough therapy designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and its Phase III clinical data on the efficacy of early Alzheimer's disease is expected to be released in the fourth quarter of this year.

  The study will enroll 1,200 participants between the ages of 60 and 80 who show signs of protein plaque formation in their brains but have yet to experience any cognitive decline.

Participants will receive a one- or two-week dose of gantekinumab, and their results will be compared to a placebo group.

  It is reported that scientists are currently testing the efficacy of more than 30 vaccines and antibodies to treat Alzheimer's disease.

However, it is worth noting that all the antibodies and vaccines being tested are based on the hypothesis that beta-amyloid is the "culprit" of Alzheimer's disease, said Professor David Smith, a pharmacology expert at the University of Oxford, UK.

The fact that none of these drugs has so far been able to cure Alzheimer's disease means that we need to go further and explore what causes the disease.

  Brain "charging" helmet

  It sounds like something out of science fiction, but some scientists believe that irradiating the brain with infrared light could help reverse Alzheimer's disease.

  In October last year, researchers at Durham University in the United Kingdom said that transcranial photobiomodulation therapy (PBM-T) may have potential benefits for people with dementia.

The therapy involves patients wearing a specially designed helmet that transmits infrared light to the brain on its own.

  The study looked at 14 healthy people over the age of 45 from the United Kingdom who received PBM-T at a wavelength of 1068 nanometers twice a day for 6 minutes for 4 weeks.

The researchers found that healthy people who received PBM-T had significant improvements in motor function (finger tapping), memory performance, delayed memory, and brain processing speed compared to the control group.

In addition, participants reported no treatment-induced adverse reactions.

  The researchers explain that this infrared light stimulates brain cells, providing them with energy and promoting blood flow, a process known as "photobiomodulation."

In theory, this would stimulate the brain to activate immune cells that clear toxic proteins associated with dementia.

In addition, this therapy increases nitric oxide levels, which improves blood flow to the brain and ensures that more oxygen can reach brain cells.

  The helmet was developed by GP Dr Gordon Dogger.

He said the helmet "may help dying brain cells regrow and restore function, but more research is needed to fully understand the mechanism of action."

  stem cell therapy

  Stem cells can develop into many different cell types, including brain cells or nerve cells.

Some scientists hope they have the potential to repair brain damage caused by neurological disorders such as dementia.

  On May 6, 2021, the US biopharmaceutical company Longeveron announced that in a phase I clinical trial, a single dose of mesenchymal stem cell therapy (Lomecel-B) was administered by intravenous infusion compared with patients taking a placebo. It can slow the progression of symptoms in people with mild Alzheimer's disease, including slowing cognitive decline and loss of daily living activities, enhancing blood vessel function, and reducing brain inflammation - which is believed to be the key to worsening Alzheimer's disease factor.

  Brain scans of patients 3 months after treatment also showed an increase in the left hippocampus, a part of the brain critical for memory formation, in patients taking high doses of Lomecel-B, the researchers said. As Alzheimer's disease progresses, this part of memory is impaired.

  Phase I human clinical trials have shown that Lomecel-B can be used safely in humans.

A larger phase 2 trial began in December to test whether a single or multiple doses of Lomecel-B are effective in treating mild forms of Alzheimer's disease.

  In addition to the above methods, scientists also use gut bacteria, oxygen and more to treat Alzheimer's disease.

However, they also say that even if these potential treatments prove effective, large-scale rollout is still years away.

In any case, I hope scientists can make breakthroughs in this medical field as soon as possible.