New treatment may actually reverse brain damage in dementia patients

Brain damage and tau antisense oligonucleotides, Health Network News

Research reveals that compound may “untangle the brain damage” caused by toxic tau proteins in the brain.

SUMMARY: New research shows that tau antisense oligonucleotides can reverse clustering of a toxic form of protein responsible for several neurodegenerative diseases.

New research from The National Institutes of Health [NIH] suggests that a genetically engineered compound may be helpful in preventing and even reversing the brain damage caused by tau protein in dementia patients.

The compound, tau antisense oligonucleotides, blocks a cell’s production of tau protein. Clumping together of toxic forms of tau in the brain is responsible for several incurable neurodegenerative illnesses including Alzheimer’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, tau-associated frontotemporal dementia, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

About the Research

The study, published in Science Translational Medicine, describes how the genetically engineered antisense oligonucleotide compound reversed clumps of tau in the brains of mice who were genetically engineered to produce abnormally high levels of the protein.

“These results open a promising new door,” said Margaret Sutherland, Ph.D., program director at NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “They suggest that antisense oligonucleotides may be effective tools for tackling tau-associated disorders.”

Tau protein is of increasing interest to Alzheimer’s researchers. This research promises to be an important piece of unraveling the causes of this heartbreaking disorder.

Source: Amy Wallace, United Press International

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