A disease that has taken more than lives, it has taken the minds of those still living, has until now presently remained without a cure.
Though research is done worldwide to help patients dealing with this debilitating disease, there hasn’t been much headway in finding a cure, or proper treatment. This discouraging news leaves those diagnosed with the disease and even more, their families feeling less and less hopeless. However, recently, there might be light at the end of the very long and dark tunnel.
This new research has shown that there is a possibility of improvement when a patient with Alzheimer’s receives blood plasma infusions from young donors. The progression can be seen with people experiencing mild to moderate Alzheimer’s symptoms.
In as little as four weeks of receiving these transfusions, researchers and medical professionals are seeing an improvement in patients. Some of the developments include the patients remembering on their own to take medications, for example, that they previously would forget. Their functional abilities after receiving these transfusions have also improved. This includes their own aptness in cooking for themselves or performing daily tasks.
The original goal of this study was only to see if the transfusions could be safely administered, but they have been surprised in the best way when they noticed improvements in the patients’ symptoms.
Where the Idea Originated From
The study, published in 2014 led by Dr. Tony Wyss-Coray, concluded that the blood transfused from younger mice to older mice actually had a positive effect on the older mice’s abilities in relation to cognitive thinking.
He wanted to see if the same reaction could occur in human subjects, and since he is the co-founder of the biotech company Alkahest, he could potentially try out his theory with plasma infusions.
Why It Works
As of right now, scientists are not 100 percent sure what component in the blood plasma is causing the reverse decline, but if they see more success in the study, they can investigate further and pinpoint exactly what it is.
However, they have seen a pattern in those with Alzheimer’s, relating to what can be seen in their brains. They have found one component that patients have in common. Amyloid-beta, a protein, accumulates in patients’ brains, has a characteristic of binding itself to a protein is found in plasma called Albumin.
What It Means for the Future
In the next year, a study should conclude featuring 500 people that tests out the hypothesis. After this study, we are going to know more about the effectiveness of the treatment and also what works out best.
There are also other factors that researchers have found out aiming to develop a protection for older adults against developing Alzheimer’s. This could possibly stop the disease in its tracks. Gleevec is a cancer-fighting drug can be used as a protective mutation against Alzheimer’s, which, when put into effect after a patient displays the first symptoms of developing Alzheimer’s can have a major effect.
Although there seems to be advancements in research pertaining to the development of a cure for Alzheimer’s, there is no cure yet in sight.
This original idea of these so-called “vampire transfusions,” can help people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. However, going from a successful study with animals to several successful trials with humans is a large step. The human, compared to the mice, is a much more complex creature, and one cannot even be sure that it is known that they can even show a relation between the two.
As they state at the conclusion of their research, even though these studies point directly to several, large signs of improvement, they still need to conclude various experiments and trials with living, affected humans.
Though there are small steps in sight of our goal to find a cure for the disease, there is still a long, long way to go.
If you or someone you know is living with early symptoms or with Alzheimer’s, please feel free to share your thoughts on this possible chance to improve conditions living with the disease.