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Medicine Science

Researchers Find Genetic Cause For Alzheimer's, Possible Method To Reverse It (upi.com) 113

schwit1 quotes UPI: Scientists at an independent biomedical research institution have reported a monumental breakthrough: The cause of the primary genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, and a possible cure for the disease. Researchers at Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco identified the primary genetic risk factor for the disease, a gene called apoE4... Their findings were published this week in the journal Nature Medicine... By treating human apoE4 neurons with a structure corrector, it eliminated the signs of Alzheimer's disease, restored normal function to the cells and improved cell survival.
The study's senior investigator says he's already working with a San Francisco pharmaceutical startup to develop the approach and move towards clinical trials, adding that "we are working to accelerate the timeline as much as possible."

Researchers Find Genetic Cause For Alzheimer's, Possible Method To Reverse It

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  • Discovery? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jarwulf ( 530523 ) on Sunday April 15, 2018 @09:10AM (#56440625)
    Even as a casual reader of medical news I thought apoE has been linked to alzheimer's for years. The specific method of removing and inducing the phenotype might be the actual breakthrough but its not like they discovered apoE4 itself.
    • Re:Discovery? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Sunday April 15, 2018 @10:03AM (#56440777)

      You're correct. The paper is about a cell culture model for Alzheimer's. The authors point out that lots of potential treatments seem to work on mouse models but fail miserably in humans. So they created a cell culture model using stem-cell derived human neurons. They show that neurons that express ApoE4 have various Alzheimer's-like features, and that these can be reversed by gene editing to flip the ApoE4 to another variant, or through the use of a structure-correcting drug.

      The paper is really about the cell culture model, which is very important, but it's not a new drug, and it's a long way from being an actual human.

      • The paper is really about the cell culture model, which is very important, but it's not a new drug, and it's a long way from being an actual human.

        Dunno about that. There are lots of people I know that are as shallow and plastic as a petri dish.

  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes .... (John Lithgow's character got that treatment)
  • by RNLockwood ( 224353 ) on Sunday April 15, 2018 @10:16AM (#56440815) Homepage

    It's first required to detect the apoE gene and whether there are one or two copies to provide a provisional diagnosis, I guess that's not really a problem but the article doesn't say. I would guess that when patients reach some age or perhaps at birth the genetic test would be prescribed by physicians as a matter of course. What's the normal function of the gene?

    Having one copy of the apoE gene doubles and two copies multiplies by 12 the chance of contracting Alzheimer's according to the article, which implies that there are other causes of Alzheimer's and also implies that having the gene doesn't predict with any certainty that carrier will exhibit symptoms if he or she lives long enough. Never-the-less this approach appears to have great promise, probably too late to help me (I'm not yet exhibiting symptoms though despite what my detractors may allege!)

    • which implies that there are other causes of Alzheimer's and also implies that having the gene doesn't predict with any certainty that carrier will exhibit symptoms if he or she lives long enough.

      Also, a good fraction of Alzheimer's patients don't have APOE4 at all.

  • Can we get other qualified experts to confirm this before news sites like slashdot start publishing it as scientific breakthrough? Oh wait.

    • Can we get other qualified experts to confirm this before news sites like slashdot start publishing it as scientific breakthrough? Oh wait.

      At least they didn't proclaim, "Mission Accomplished!" -- 'cause that always goes over well ... :-)

  • ...it eliminated the signs of Alzheimer's disease,

    Hopefully they didn't use Theranos to confirm.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    For example, from freaking 1993,

    Abstract

    Several studies have reported an association of the apolipoprotein E allele 4 (APOE*4) to familial and sporadic late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD). Here we report on the relationship between APOE*4 and early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) in a Dutch population-based study. The frequency of the APOE*4 allele was 2.3 times higher among EOAD cases compared to controls. Among patients, the allele frequency was 1.6 times higher in those with a positive family history

  • I'm sure they will soon discover a much more profitable long--term treatment option instead. /cynical

  • Aging is something we could solve.
    Check out the strategy here:

    The Science of Curing Aging" | Talks at Google
    https://youtu.be/S6ARUQ5LoUo [youtu.be]

    • They debated this and the students at Cambridge University elected to maintain aging even if it could be prevented!

      Do it anyway.

      Raise the voting age past where these over educated scoundrels can't wage murder against the elderly.
  • Stock up on gas masks and guns while you still can.

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