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Mon Mar 28, 2016, 12:10 PM

An implant to prevent Alzheimer's

March 17, 2016
Source: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Summary: In a cutting-edge treatment for Alzheimer's disease, scientists have developed an implantable capsule that can turn the patient's immune system against the disease.

One of the hypothesized causes of Alzheimer's is the over-accumulation of the protein amyloid beta (amyloid-β in different areas of the brain. This results in the deposition of aggregated protein plaques, which are toxic to neurons. One of the most promising ways to fight the plaques is to "tag" the amyloid-β proteins with antibodies that signal the patient's own immune system to attack and clear them. To be most effective, this treatment has to be given as early as possible, before the first signs of cognitive decline. But this requires repeated vaccine injections, which can cause side effects. EPFL scientists have now solved the problem with an implant that can deliver a steady and safe flow of antibodies to the patient's brain to clear amyloid-β proteins. The work is published in the journal Brain.


The researchers tested the device on mice with great success. The mice -- a genetic line that is commonly used to simulate Alzheimer's disease -- showed dramatic reduction of amyloid-β plaque load. Indeed, the constant flow of antibodies produced by the capsule over a course of 39 weeks prevented the formation of amyloid-β plaques in the brain. The treatment also reduced the phosphorylation of the protein tau, another sign of Alzheimer's observed in these mice.

The proof-of-concept work is a landmark. It demonstrates clearly that encapsulated cell implants can be used successfully and safely to deliver antibodies to treat Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders that feature defective proteins.

This work involved a collaboration between EPFL's Neurodegenerative Studies Laboratory (Brain Mind Institute), the Swiss Light Source (Paul Scherrer Institute) and F. Hoffmann-La Roche. It was funded by the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation and F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.


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Reply An implant to prevent Alzheimer's (Original post)
progressoid Mar 2016 OP
Wounded Bear Mar 2016 #1
Orsino Mar 2016 #2

Response to progressoid (Original post)

Mon Mar 28, 2016, 01:09 PM

1. Recently lost a father of a friend to this...

well, sort of. He arranged a home suicide after many years of loss of memory and cognitive functions. Thankfully, he'd lived a long (70+ years) life filled with family and productive work. Kind of gratifying that he was able to check out basically on his own terms before he lost all ability to make decisions of such magnitude. And yes, he planned it all out for many years. It seems he went peacefully.

The idea of treatment is wonderful to hear. While I wasn't that close to him, watching him slip away year by year was heart wrenching to his daughter, with whom I am acquainted well. I hope this works for all those facing this evil disease.

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Response to progressoid (Original post)

Mon Mar 28, 2016, 02:01 PM

2. Fuck Alzheimer's sideways with a rake.

Or subdermally with antibodies.

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