Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s

The Latest Info About Stem Cells and Alzheimer’s

A reviewer on Amazon asked me if I knew anything about new Alzheimer’s treatments in development, which led to this! I don’t think Amazon is letting through links in reviews or comments anymore, so this is definitely the best way to get it.

Here’s a great, brand-new scholarly article about the current state of stem cell therapies being developed for Alzheimer’s (personally, as y’all probably know by now, I think that’s where the cure will come from.)

“Stem cell therapy for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders: current status and future perspectives.”

The best part is that the full article is available free on Pubmed Central. Here’s the link for that:

Absolutely free full text PDF!

Another thing I know of is some new work with identifying more information about a gene that carries risk for developing Alzheimer’s. The stem cell link is that induced pluripotent stem cells are being used in the process (which is the best use for them at the present time, I think. IMHO, they’re so not ready for clinical application.)

Elucidating Molecular Phenotypes Caused by the SORL1 Alzheimer’s Disease Genetic Risk Factor Using Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells.

So take a look at those (especially the first one), and I’ll have Day Six of the UC-Davis conference coming up very soon. 🙂

The State of Alzheimer’s Research

So I just finished Dancing With a Stranger, by Meryl Comer, and… it’s not exactly the feel-good book of the year. She is a caregiver for BOTH her husband AND her mother, and both have Alzheimer’s. Oh, yeah– and she has both of the genes associated with the disease. Just the fact that some people are able to keep going in the face of unbearable problems is hard to believe.

I’ve been looking into the current state of stem cell based AD trials, and here’s what I’ve found out. As of December 2014, there’s not a lot going on at the clinical level right now. There’s one trial in South Korea using cord blood-derived cells, but even though they completed the preliminary outpoint in 2012, there does not seem to have been any information released on what the outcome was, which isn’t very encouraging to me. Dr. Lanza’s article about preliminary interim results in Ocata’s RPE trials for AMD was released months into the study. So, for it to be fully two years after the completion of Phase I, and still nothing… not that great. Another study in China is now recruiting, but I’m not sure how much better that one looks.

There are a few meds in development that look promising… but the problem with drug trials is that there’s a long history of meds looking great for AD until they’re actually released, and then they turn out to not accomplish much of anything over the long term. I’ve seen a couple of drugs really help people in the early stages, but only for about one year (Aricept and Namenda are good examples.)

The most promising thing I’ve seen, IMHO, is Neuralstem’s animal studies on Alzheimer’s. They released results in October, and the conclusion is that their cells “rescued spatial learning and memory deficits in mice with an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease.” The problem obviously is that we’re only talking about mice at this point, and there is, unfortunately, a history of stem cell treatments looking wonderful in mice and then not translating to humans. Still, if I had more money, I would definitely invest in this company!

So that’s pretty much the AD story for now!

Working in hospice , Part One

So today was the wrap party for NaNo (National Novel Writing Month,) and I read from the stem cell book I worked on all through November. (Yep, it’s the planned book on this site, And the Blind Shall See: The Promise of Stem Cell Cures.) It came from the section on working in hospice with Alzheimer’s patients. People were really touched (and I’m not going to try to claim that it was from the amazing writing quality!) No, it’s because everyone can relate to the desperate need for cures for degenerative diseases. And yet it’s basically a situation where even the most educated people never know almost anything about what’s really going on with truly effective stem cell research (like Ocata’s.) If you’ve ever lived with the situation of caring for a relative who has a degenerative disease like Alzheimer’s, you know how utterly draining it is, how much it takes out of you. I saw it every single day when I worked hospice. And it isn’t just older people, believe me. There was one woman I knew who died of MS when she was only thirty-six years old. I’m going to put up a series of posts on working with patients who had degenerative diseases, and there’s quite a range of those. Alzheimer’s, other types of dementia, MS, COPD, severe arthritis, and on and on and on. These might not be the most cheerful stories in the world– but we’re working on a happy ending through regenerative medicine! 🙂