Alzheimer’s is a devastating and fatal disease that affects both the patient and his/her loved ones. Memory loss is a major symptom of this disease, however, in a new Spanish study, researchers were able to successfully use gene therapy to reverse memory loss in mice who had early stage Alzheimer’s.
For the study, a team of researchers from Autonomous University of Barcelona injected Crtc1 into the hippocampus— the part of the brain that is associated with memory processing— of mice. Crtc1 is a gene that causes the production of protein that is usually blocked in patients with Alzheimer’s. The university explained in a statement, “The protein that was reinstated by the gene therapy triggers the signals needed to activate the genes involved in long-term memory consolidation.”
Results showed that through gene therapy, genes involved in long-term memory consolidation were activated. Researchers found through the alteration of the Crtc1 gene, it led back to the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Lead researcher, Carolos Saura, explained, “When the Crtc1 protein is altered, the genes responsible for the synapsis, or connections between neurons in the hippocampus, cannot be activated and the individual cannot perform memory tasks correctly.”
This study could help find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease in developing a drug that would target and activate these genes in humans. This would reverse memory loss and in turn lead to a cure for Alzheimer’s.