Targeting cells that cause plaques and proteins to form could have an impact on dementia.
Scientists have discovered that blocking the action of T Cells, which are a type of blood cell that prevent immune system cells from entering the brain, could potentially help to halt and even reverse symptoms of dementia.
The study, carried out by researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and published in journal Nature Communications, was exciting because according to lead neurobiologist, Professor Michal Schwartz, it shows that a diseased brain could potentially fight the condition.
Tests found that when T cells were blocked, it prevented inflammation and clumps of plaques from forming in the brain – which are a key cause in the degeneration of the brain and cognitive decline.
However, it’s also important to remember that this was a study that was carried out on mice, and further research would need to be carried out before it could be applied to humans.
The mice were genetically engineered to have genes that gave them dementia. Then when scientists blocked the action of T cells in the brain, the rodents performed better on memory tests. In fact, the mice performed almost as well as the ‘control’ group of mice who did not have dementia, meaning that the cell therapy could not only halt the dementia symptoms, but even reverse them.
Researchers now plan to carry our further investigations to see how they can apply the same concept to humans in pre-clinical experiments.
For more information on what drug trials are being carried out to fight dementia, click here.