Chinese scientists in Shanghai tested and implemented the transplant of neurons from human embryonic stem cells into mice afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, successfully reversing cognitive degeneration. Translation: Stem cells are getting rid of Alzheimer’s in mice!
The researchers hope that this could serve as the foundation to eventually cure Alzheimer’s.
The Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences told SCMP they originally believed stem-cells could offer no treatment, however this new study has proved to be very “encouraging.”
Professor Jing Naihe, lead scientist with the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, lead the team of scientists. The proteins used identified 60 percent of the mice neurons to be foreign and harmful, eliminated those, and rejuvenated the remaining correct cells.
After this experimental procedure, the mice acted “comparable” to normal mice and continued to act normally after two months of treatment.
Jing’s team concludes that the cognitive deficiency in mice can effectively be reversed.
The use of human stem cells in mice was a bit controversial, however Jing’s team logic was that the experiment is meant to be applied on human subjects in the future. “If the human neurons can get a footing and grow in the brain of a mouse, the chance is high the effect will be even better on a human host,” Jing said.
Clinical trials on humans will not happen soon, years of research is still necessary.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It generally affects individuals over 65 years old and worsens over time. There is no current cure and its causes are poorly understood. It is estimated that nearly 44 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s, as society’s across the globe grow older, more and more people are projected to develop Alzheimer’s. It is the 6th leading cause of death in America.
In 2014, the International Symposium on Aging and Medicine in Shanghai said that most of the city’s 300,000 Alzheimer’s sufferers don’t get the care they need.
By Emily Lam