Cell Therapy and Alzheimer’s disease
Various diseases affect humans, including non-communicable and communicable ones (Draper 121-143). Examples of non-communicable diseases are cancer, diabetes, while communicable ones are malaria, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and many others. These diseases trigger a number of effects in humans ranging from severe fever, loss of memory, body emaciation, and many others (Fisher and Hanin 98-107). Similarly, many therapies and treatments for different diseases exist. As such, this paper focuses on the effectiveness of cell therapy as a future medicine for helping patients with Alzheimer’s disease. In so doing, the paper will shed light on the studies that tried using cell therapy in curing Alzheimer’s disease.
According to Greer(102-118), cell therapy refers to the process of transplanting animal or human cells with the aim of repairing or replacing damaged or worn-out tissues. From this definition, it is evident that the main objective of cell therapy is the introduction of cells in the body that will eventually grow, hence replacing the damaged ones. Cell therapy has been very common especially in treating diseases, such as cancer, various dementias, and many others (Fisher and Hanin 109-119).
On the other hand, Alzheimer’s refers to a disease that mainly causes dementia, in which dementia is a disease characterized by memory loss (Pavlovic and Balint 119). Other symptoms of the disease are reasoning impairment, confusion, and many other memory disorders. Despite its existence, previous research studies indicate that the disease’s cause is still not very clear. However, some studies established that the disease comes about because of an unusual protein buildup in the brain. Examples of the proteins that cause the buildup are Amyloid-Beta and Tau clump together forming plaques in the brain (Sorensen 154-165). On the other hand, existing statistics show that approximately 1.5 percent and 30 percent of persons aged 65-69 and 90 years respectively suffer from Alzheimer’s. The majority of these people are in Britain as the statistics show that approximately 500,000 Britons suffer from the disease (Fisher and Hanin 143-156).
The high prevalence of Alzheimer’s is not only a major problem in Britain but also in the United States. For example, it is evident that the number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in the United States is very big. Currently, the population suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in the country is more than 3.4 million yet the number is still increasing (Draper 145-162). The number is increasing since statistics show that the incidences of Alzheimer’s will reach 5.4 million by 2025 in the country.
Despite these shocking statistics, it is alarming to note that a definite medicine for Alzheimer’s does not exist currently in the world (Fisher and Hanin 122-143). As such, people normally use a few drugs in addressing some of the symptoms related to the disease, including enhancing the capability for managing daily tasks and improving memory. Because of the unavailability of appropriate treatment of the disease, researchers have been carrying out various clinical and laboratory research studies (Pavlovic and Balint 98-103). The research studies mainly focused on developing a reliable drug for the disease, especially the one that would help in the removal of protein Amyloid build-up in the brain. Despite the efforts, it is unfortunate that the clinical tests failed on many occasions (Greer 76). Failures of the tests raised questions on the manner in which medical practitioners understood or represented the disease in the laboratories. Consequently, much focus has been on the stem cells in an effort for coming up with an appropriate remedy for the disease (Sorensen 76-98). Similarly, there have been many questions on the efficiency of the cells in addressing the problems.
Various studies were conducted in a move aimed at establishing the best cure and preventive measure of Alzheimer’s disease (Nabar et al 2-4). One of the studies sought to establish whether antigen sensitized dendritic cells could act as a vaccine for Alzheimer’s. In preparing the vaccine, the investigators sensitized the segregated dendritic cells known as ex vivo with the Aβ peptide into three groups of mice. In this regard, the first group of the mice was the control group, the second one was Tg PDFM, and the third one was Tg- PWT. The investigators later administered the sensitized dendritic cells like the therapeutic agents into the selected mice. It is arguable that this form of cell therapy played a great deal in slowing down and preventing the cognitive decline rate among the mice (Nabar et al 8-12). However, the therapy was most effective when administered before the occurrence of Aβ plaques in PDAPP rats. This study has a major strength since it played a significant role in enhancing the process of establishing the best cure and prevention for Alzheimer’s disease. Despite this fact, the study had weaknesses since it did not undergo tests in 2× Tg models (Nabar et al 9-11). Further, the study had weaknesses since it relied on the mice, as opposed to humans, thus the findings may not apply in humans.
Apart from focusing on the vaccine’s ability in preventing the occurrence of Alzheimer’s in the mice, the study further focused on the vaccine’s safety and efficacy (Nabar et al 13-14). In this regard, the investigators focused on the effectiveness of the vaccine in reverting and stopping AD pathology in 9 months old APP+PS1 mice. From his study, the investigators established that administering the vaccine elicited an antibody titer that lasted for long. Apart from lasting for long, the antibody titer, correlated well with the diminishing Aβ burden upon the histological analysis (Nabar et al 9-12). In addition, the vaccine salvaged the cognitive responsibility of one of the transgenic responders to an equal level to that of non-transgenic rats. This revelation indicated that the vaccine has the ability for supplying therapeutic benefits among the APP+PS1 mice when administered after the Alzheimer’s disease’s onset. Further, the vaccine demonstrated the ability for circumventing previous safety challenges noted in Alzheimer’s disease immunotherapy (Nabar et al 13-14). The vaccine did so, as it did not elevate the Th1 pro-inflammatory cytokines after a long-term administration of the vaccine. In addition, the treated subjects did not demonstrate T-cell infiltration and Micro hemorrhaging into the brain (Nabar et al 6-8). Therefore, based on these facts, it is arguable that the vaccine is highly advantageous compared to the contemporary Alzheimer disease’s vaccines. Based on these revelations, it is evident that further research on the vaccine can lead to the establishment of better treatment for Alzheimer’s disease in the near future. Despite the fact that the vaccine identified in the study can lead to a possible cure for Alzheimer’s disease, it has a number of weaknesses. For example, the study was carried out using a single population of mice obtained in one region (Sorensen 87-94). Hence, based on the fact, it might be misleading for people to consider the vaccine as a probable cure for Alzheimer’s disease. In order to ascertain the effectiveness of the vaccine, there is the need for testing it using mice from different parts of the world (Pavlovic and Balint 106-113). In addition, the effectiveness of the vaccine in mice does not automatically mean that it can treat Alzheimer’s disease among humans. Therefore, in order to ascertain the effectiveness of the vaccine, there is the need for carrying out similar trials using volunteer humans, with Alzheimer’s disease (Fisher and Hanin 78-96).
Other researchers who conducted studies on the use of cell therapy in curing Alzheimer’s, based at the University of California. The researchers bred mice characterized by symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer’s, including memory impairment, loss, and other memory disorders (Draper 161-173). The researchers later injected the mice with neural stem cells, in the brain in order to repair their damaged brain cells. From this study, the researchers established a slight improvement in the memory of the mice, thus leading to the belief that cell therapy could play a great deal in addressing Alzheimer’s. However, these findings have many weaknesses in the sense that they focused on the mice. Being that the study focused on the mice it might be misleading to apply the findings to humans since what is effective in the mice may not be effective in humans (Nabar et al 12-15). Further, it may also be difficult to establish the incidence of memory impairment and improvement in the mice since their neurological system is not similar to that of humans. In addition, the study had weaknesses in the sense that it did not have a control group. For example, the researchers injected all the mice having symptoms of Alzheimer’s with stem cells without leaving out some. From these revelations, it may be difficult to generalize that the cells were the ones that led to the memory improvement as other factors may have played a part (Greer 101-103). Moreover, the study had weaknesses in the sense that it used a small sample of the mice; thus, it may be misleading to use the findings in generalizing.
Despite these critics, it is arguable that the studies will play a vital role in establishing the most appropriate cure for Alzheimer’s. For example, Doctor Frank Laferla held that there is sufficient hope that the findings will play a great deal in providing the cure for Alzheimer’s (Nabar et al 14-15). Apart from the study conducted in the University of California, other studies revealed the possibility of cell therapy in addressing Alzheimer’s. For example, Professor Sugaya Kiminobu established a DNA-related compound that has the ability to improve the results for cell therapy treatment among Alzheimer’s patients (Nabar et al 13-14). The investigators revealed that treatment of the bone marrow cells with the compounds turned adult stems turn into brain cells especially in the experiments involving the mice.
Apart from the above studies, there are other major studies that focused on unraveling the best remedy or cell therapy for Alzheimer’s. Most of these projects were under the funding of the Alzheimer’s society (Nabar et al 14-16). For instance, recently, the Alzheimer’s society funded a three-year research project aimed at investigating the ability of the born marrow’s stem cells in transforming into brain cells. These studies made tremendous achievements as they unraveled the manner in which a person can transform the normal behavior of the stem cells (Sorensen 87-98). The studies further established the vital ways of conducting research on the born marrow stem cells, usable in generating results that are more significant. Other studies conducted by the society entailed investigations into the brain stem cells activation for the purpose of designing therapies focused on repairing the brain damage arising from Alzheimer’s. Despite the studies’ achievements, they had weaknesses since they did not proceed up to the trial levels, especially in using humans since they used the mice (Greer 121-127).
Apart from the studies funded by the Alzheimer’s society, there are other major ones conducted in the California state (Nabar et al 3-5). The studies brought tremendous achievements in the establishment of the best cell therapy for addressing Alzheimer’s. These studies raised hope by establishing that cell therapy would play a great deal in providing a therapeutic cure for Alzheimer’s through the compensation of lost neuronal systems (Fisher and Hanin 100-109). These revelations are based on the stem cells acquired from adult and embryonic tissues gathered and grafted into the mice’s brains. Through this study, the researchers established that the grafted cells later incorporated the host parenchyma that differentiated into the functional neural lineages. On the other hand, in the injured brain, stem cells displayed targeted relocation towards the damaged brain regions, where they engrafted, multiplied, and matured into functional neurons. In addition, the cells stimulated endogenous neural precursors, apart from replacing the damaged or lost cells because of Alzheimer’s disease (Nabar et al 5-8). Moreover, the cells could accelerate the growth of the brain when modified genetically. From these revelations, it is evident that the study played a great deal in trying to unravel the best cure for Alzheimer’s. However, the studies had weaknesses in the sense that they were based in California which is a small and unrepresentative population. In addition, the studies were based on other animals such as mice as opposed to humans (Sorensen 109-115).
Despite these arguments, currently, the global economic impact of dementia is working on a serious program aimed at ascertaining the effectiveness of human neural cells in curing Alzheimer’s disease. This is after the revelation that the main part of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease is the hippocampus which is responsible for memory and learning (Greer 102-109). Thus, using animals, the study established that transplantation of human neural stem cells into the hippocampus played a great deal in improving memory. The cells did so through the provision of growth factors aimed at protecting the neurons from degenerating. Therefore, it is arguable that the translation of these findings to humans could play a vital role in restoring the memory of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, thus enhancing their quality of life. The practitioners carrying out the study initiated three clinical trials that involved transplanting human neural stem cells in order to address neurological disorders. The trials established that the proposed cells in this therapeutic strategy are highly effective and safe when transplanted into human beings (Fisher and Hanin 109-118). The therapeutic strategy is highly effective because the mice suffering from Alzheimer’s diseases demonstrated a huge improvement in their memory and skills after the transplantation of human and murine cells. Despite the success, the studies have shortcomings since they did not use humans for trials, but used mice.
In order to feel the existing gaps concerning the best therapy for addressing Alzheimer’s, the Alzheimer’s disease team based in California seeks to carry out a number of empirical studies in the future. The studies are necessary in seeking authorization from the FDA, in order to start testing the cell therapeutic strategy in human beings (Pavlovic and Balint 101-109). The intended project will be carried out by a California-based academic laboratory in collaboration with a biotechnology company. The two partners will be in charge of the project because they have a renowned history in conducting clinical trials entailing neural stem cell transplantation as well as laboratory studies in Alzheimer’s. Apart from the two, the project will be implemented in conjunction with scientists based in California and expert clinicians who will lead it to its trials (Sorensen 101-109). It is arguable that a combination of all these parties will play a great deal in accelerating the research. Acceleration of the research is vital since it will hasten the successful submission of the FDA in permitting the human testing of the proposed therapeutic cure for AD. These studies have much strength including the fact that an establishment of the right therapy will help delay the progress of neuronal degeneration in humans. Because of delaying the process, cell therapy will help in preserving the functionality of the memory as well as cognition (Nabar et al 4-7). Based on this fact, cell therapy will be the best compared to the use of drugs being that it offers a substantial cost-efficiency. Thus, the latent economic effects of this therapeutic research type can be vital, and worth investing in. The research is worth it because it will not only reduce the high costs of care but also enhance the general condition of the patients.
With the advancement in technology, it is arguable that the development of the best cure for Alzheimer’s disease is highly possible (Pavlovic and Balint 106-119). Putting sufficient effort into the development of the best cure for Alzheimer’s disease is essential as presently the cure for Alzheimer’s disease does not exist. Thus, currently, many organizations and Alzheimer’s societies based in California and other parts of the world are putting much effort into coming up with the best cure for Alzheimer’s (Nabar et al 3-5). Because of these efforts, it is worth noting that a possible cure for Alzheimer’s disease is nearing, thus a possible defeat to Alzheimer’s disease. Development of the cure is essential as it will prevent or slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (Draper 99-106). Therefore, in order to do so, researchers are seeking a paradigm shift on how to conduct stem cell studies. Thus, unlike before where the studies mainly narrowed on animals like the mice, the future ones are focusing on healthy humans and those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (Greer 107-113). Through these studies, the researchers will take healthy stem cells from healthy patients then differentiate them into neurons. Thereafter, the medical practitioners will use the stem cells in replacing the hippocampal region of the brain. The medical practitioners will do that by controlling the neuron’s growth, cellular levels, or injecting the cells into the patient’s brain (Draper 108-114). The stems cells will be from close relatives or siblings having a close genetic match. It is arguable use of this approach will play a vital role in controlling and coming up with the best cure for Alzheimer’s disease (Greer 110-119).
Based on the research, it is evident that there have been concerted efforts for coming up with an appropriate cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Most of the research studies focused on the applicability of stem cells in curing the disease. Examples of the studies include the ones being carried out in California (Draper 109-116). For instance, the global economic impact of dementia is currently working on a serious program aimed at ascertaining the effectiveness of human neural cells in curing Alzheimer’s disease. Further, the Alzheimer’s Society recently funded a three-year research project aimed at investigating the ability of born marrow stem cells in transforming into brain cells (Nabar et al 6-7). Despite the various weaknesses of these studies, they will play a vital role in establishing the best cell therapy for addressing Alzheimer’s disease. Hence, based on these facts there is the need for the researchers to put more effort in order to speed up the process of obtaining a better cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
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