New Insights on Treating Neurodegeneretive Diseases Could Lead to New Classes of Clinical Trials for Alzheimer’s Disease


Scientists have been stumped for years on how to awaken stem cells to make new neurons in the human brain; a new study out of the journal Science Advances may have just unlocked critical insight into this neurogenerative puzzle through a roadmap of metabolic pathways. The study, which was conducted on adult and elderly mice, found that a unique gene in their genetically-mutated mice activated dormant neural stem cells, in effect generating new neurons in the brain. This discovery to awaken stem cells may lead to new clinical trials for treating people with neurodegenerative diseases, including an estimated 6.5 million Americans ages 65 and older who are living with Alzheimer’s in 2022.

With the increasing number of people developing these diseases, will there be many more discoveries down the road? Overall, clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease medications are giving new options to patients.

“Alzheimer’s research is getting to a place where cancer research was maybe 30, 40 years ago,” says Anton Porsteinsson, MD, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Care, Research and Education Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, as quoted in the Association of American Medical Colleges News. “I think we’re at a point where we’re going to see a logarithmic increase in discovery.”

Dr. Dung Trinh, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the Healthy Brain Clinic, which provides individualized plans for brain health with coaching and support including memory testing and brain health exams, gives his perspective on this new research and helps track the implications of this research for neurobiologists and for patients with neurodegenerative diseases.

Dung’s Thoughts

“Neural degeneration, otherwise known as the loss of brain cells, is a very common thread among pretty much all the neural degenerative diseases we have in the brain that includes Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias such as vascular dementia. It includes multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. The one underlying thread is the loss of brain cells, otherwise known as neurodegeneration.

So, this research actually is very exciting. We have not found a strategy to reproduce successfully more brain cells that have been less with these neurodegenerative diseases. And the best we’ve had so far is to hopefully try to slow down neurodegeneration, but the ability to create more brain cells, especially from stem cells that have been inactive in the brain, is a very exciting new revelation.

And this will lead to new classes of clinical trials and studies that will revolutionize this field. The field of neurodegeneration unfortunately have not caught up as far as finding new treatments and finding new medications due to the fact that we have not been able to successfully create or find a way to make new brain cells consistently. ”

Article written by Sonya Young.

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