A new approach to Alzheimer’s disease has been developed that could one day make it possible to reverse the devastating memory loss seen in its later stages.
A team of researchers led by University at Buffalo scientists have discovered that by focusing on gene changes caused by influences other than DNA sequences – called epigenetics – it was possible to reverse memory decline in an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
The study has been published in the journal Brain. It was funded by a $2m grant from the US National Institutes of Health focused on developing novel treatment strategies for AD.
This funding acknowledges the decades of failure in Alzheimer’s and dementia research, which has been largely based on targeting beta-amyloid and tau – approaches which have so far not yielded any compelling evidence of efficacy.
The Buffalo researchers believe their work in the developing science of epigenetics will yield answers in the elusive search for new Alzheimer’s therapies.
“In this paper, we have not only identified the epigenetic factors that contribute to memory loss, we also found ways to temporarily reverse them in an animal model of AD,” said senior author Zhen Yan, PhD, a SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.
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