One step closer to an Alzheimer’s cure

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia every 67 seconds in the United States.

Local researchers have now found a new way of looking at the brain and what is in it. Researchers hope this will lead the way to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.

The human brain is made up of a trillion cells, and for years it was believed that every cell had the same DNA.

“Single cells in the brain are probably distinct from one another at the level of the DNA. So your brain is this enormous mosaic,” said Dr. Jerold Chun.

This has been the basis of Dr. Jerold Chun’s studies at the Scripps Research Institute.

Dr. Chun, Dr. Ben Siddoway and Dr. Gwen Kaeser have released a paper that shows the gene that develops into Alzheimer’s in those rare familial cases, may be responsible for the disease in the rest of the Alzheimer’s population.

Scientist found hundreds of millions of pairs of extra DNA in the brains of those with the non familial cases of Alzheimer’s.

“That means there’s any number of genes and potential drug targets, potential new mechanisms that could come out of an understanding of that extra DNA,” said Dr. Chun.

The brain of someone with dementia, researchers found, changes. That leaves the questions: What is in the extra DNA, and how did it get there?

“If we can understand that, then we can take some steps toward therapeutics,” said Dr. Chun.

That is one frustration, the fact that there has not been a new drug identified to treat Alzheimer’s in more than ten years.

“There’s basically no good drug. No drug that stops the disease, it treats symptoms. Part of it is we don’t really understand the disease at that level,” he said.

The hope is the lab work and any discovery will be a step in the direction of finding a cure for a disease that wreaks havoc on families.

60,000 people in San Diego have some form of dementia.

Categories: KUSI