Nerve Growth Factor For Alzheimer's Disease
Nerve growth factor,abbreviated as NGF, is found naturally in the brain, where it protects
brains cells . Nerve growth factor may be inactivated by amyloid beta
protein . Therefore, attempts have been made to treat alzheimer patients
with nerve growth factor.
Nerve growth factor, infused
into the brain of one alzheimer patient seemed to mildly stimulate cognitive
ability . Another study infused nerve growth factor into the brains of 3
alzheimer patients. No patient showed cognitive improvement. In addition,diffuse
back pain and pronounced weight loss were adverse effects seen .
Gene therapy, using NGF, is currently in clinical trial at
the University of California,San Diego. Neurologist Mark H. Tuszynski, M.D.,
Ph.D., and his team on April 5, 2001, surgically implanted NGF-producing cells
into the brain of a 60 -year- old woman with early stage alzheimer's disease.
Previous work with monkeys has shown that the implantation of
genetically-engineered cells increases the survival of brain cells in primates
by producing nerve growth factor after implantation.