Alzheimer’s Disease Research at NYSCF
Alzheimer’s Disease News
Nearly 1 in 3 seniors die with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, yet very few treatments or preventive options...
5.4 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s and 8.2 million more will be diagnosed by 2050.
Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia. Dementia is defined as a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with normal life. It is an umbrella term that encompasses aspects of many diseases such as Huntington’s disease, lewy body dementia, and vascular dementia, among others. As a form of dementia, Alzheimer’s is characterized by a progressive loss of memory and cognitive function, often appearing with brain abnormalities such as plaques and tangles. Alzheimer’s accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases.
Early onset Alzheimer’s is defined as Alzheimer’s that begins prior to age 65. Early-onset Alzheimer’s symptoms are the same as those for the typical form of the disease and can include:
Poor memory (asking for the same information again and again)
Impaired problem solving
Changes in mood or personality
Trouble speaking and communicating
We need to study human cells from people with Alzheimer’s in order to find effective therapies—and stem cells allow us to do this. Most laboratory research on Alzheimer’s is conducted in animals, tissues from these animals, or artificial cell lines. Mice do not get Alzheimer’s disease. Not surprisingly, none of the treatments that have looked promising in these animal models have slowed disease progression or cured people with Alzheimer’s, likely because these systems do not sufficiently mimic what occurs in people with the disease. At NYSCF, we turn stem cells into the brain cells affected by Alzheimer’s to study their dysfunction and test drugs.
We have built a comprehensive library of cells from people with and without Alzheimer’s. This resource allows us to look at the mechanisms of cell damage and responses to promising therapy in each of many different forms of Alzheimer’s. We can also compare patients who have Alzheimer’s-related genetic changes but no symptoms to healthy individuals. At NYSCF, this collection of cells, in combination with the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array®, represent a unique and incredibly powerful tool for increasing our understanding of Alzheimer’s, uncovering safe and effective treatments, and finding cures.