Gene Therapy Could Repair Brain Damage Caused by Dementia, Study Shows



A recent study by the University of Cambridge has shown “promising evidence” that gene therapy has the potential to repair brain damage caused by dementia and may improve short-term memory.  

The study, published in Science Advances, analyzed how gene therapy, or the process of replacing missing or defective genes with a healthy version, could help with repairing damage caused by chronic neurodegenerative conditions.  

The study’s lead author — Keith Martin, now at the University of Melbourne — said in an article published in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News that this early-stage research “shows promise for helping to treat neurogenerative diseases that have so far proved intractable. 

“Gene therapy has already proved effective for some rare monogenic conditions, and we hope it will be similarly useful for these more complex diseases,” Martin added.  

In the study, researchers used gene therapy to treat rodents who have been bred to have tauopathy – an accumulation of tau protein “tangles” in the brain, which has been linked to FTD and other dementias. They found that those rodents showed small, preliminary improvements in their short-term memory.  

While these results were not statistically significant, researchers said in the study that they are promising, and a larger study is now planned to confirm the effect.  

Read the full article here