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Can an Implant Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

By Mark Silvanic, 9:00 am on

One consistency in the pathology of Alzheimer’s is the accumulation of beta amyloid proteins in the brain. These proteins combine to form plaques that are toxic to healthy brain cells and prevent proper neurological function. Currently, it’s possible to use antibodies to tag these toxic proteins. Then a series of vaccinations can be administered to instruct the body’s immune system to destroy them. These vaccinations have side effects and the process must begin prior to any symptoms of cognitive decline if the best results are to be obtained. However, researchers are giving hope to seniors and their Alzheimer’s caregivers in Colorado Springs in terms of staving off the disease using a new implant device.

Scientist Patrick Aebischer at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne has successfully developed a technology that eliminates the need for injections, but uses a similar theme. Instead of an injection, a capsule is implanted under the skin. The capsule contains special cells that have been genetically modified to secrete antibodies that target the beta amyloid proteins. The cells are able to manufacture and release the antibodies at a constant rate over a long period of time.

These cells must be shielded from the senior’s immune system or the body would attempt to destroy them. The capsule is covered with a special membrane that’s biocompatible with the human body, similar to other medical devices.

The cells used for the bioengineering process are actually muscle cells. These cells are genetically altered to produce antibodies that specifically target the beta amyloid proteins. The man-made membrane that coats the capsule permits the antibodies to spread into the body, through the bloodstream, and into the brain.

Research testing on mice has produced excellent results. The implant has been shown to prevent the development of beta amyloid plaques over 10 months of treatment. This treatment is not only promising for seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but also for those experiencing other neurological disorders with defective proteins. It is not believed that this treatment can reverse the disease, but can prevent or stop the progression. After further testing, this device may reduce the need for Colorado Springs dementia caregivers.

Alzheimer’s is a challenging disease that many find difficult to face alone. Home Care Assistance of Colorado Springs, CO is a trusted provider of comprehensive Alzheimer’s and dementia home care that enables seniors to manage their disease in the familiarity of their own homes. In addition to helping with personal care and household tasks, our highly trained caregivers promote brain health by exercising cognitive function and sharpening mental acuity. Call us today at (719) 822-1229 to learn more about our services and schedule a free in-home consultation.