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New Alzheimer's treatment enhances drug delivery to the brain

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 3 months ago

Alzheimer's Disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder that affects memory and cognitive functions. Despite decades of research, effective treatment strategies have been limited, and managing the disease remains challenging. The disease is characterized by the buildup of amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there were approximately 6.7 million Americans aged 65 years or older with Alzheimer's Disease in 2023, and this number is projected to triple to 14 million people by 2060.

A major obstacle in treating Alzheimer's is the blood brain barrier, a protective boundary that hinders the delivery of therapeutic drugs to the brain. However, a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that ultrasound can temporarily disrupt the blood brain barrier, allowing for the delivery of an Alzheimer's drug called aducanumab.

The study involved three patients with mild Alzheimer's over a six-month period. The results showed a decrease in amyloid-beta plaques in the regions treated with focused ultrasound compared to untreated regions. However, cognitive testing showed mixed results.

The blood brain barrier is crucial for protecting the brain from pathogens and toxins, but it also restricts the delivery of therapeutic agents. Focused ultrasound offers a non-invasive method to temporarily disrupt the barrier, allowing for targeted drug delivery.

Aducanumab is an FDA-approved drug that targets and reduces amyloid-beta plaques in the brain. The researchers wanted to test if combining focused ultrasound with aducanumab could enhance its therapeutic effect.

While the study's results are promising, it is important to note that it was a preliminary proof-of-concept study with a small number of patients. Further research is needed to ensure the long-term safety of repeatedly opening the blood brain barrier and to explore the correlation between amyloid reduction and cognitive improvement.

Overall, this approach offers a potential new approach to treating neurological disorders where the blood brain barrier poses a challenge. It may open up avenues for other drugs that were previously ineffective due to their inability to cross the barrier. However, more research is needed before this approach can be adopted clinically.

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