Degenerating Neurons Respond to NGF Gene Therapy Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease

Degenerating neurons in patients with Alzheimer’s disease
(AD) measurably responded to an experimental gene therapy in which nerve growth factor (NGF) was injected into their brains, report researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine in the current issue of JAMA Neurology.
The affected neurons displayed heightened growth, axonal sprouting and activation of functional markers, said lead author Mark H. Tuszynski, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Neurosciences, director of the UC San Diego Translational Neuroscience Institute and a neurologist at VA Medical Center, San Diego.
The findings are derived from postmortem analyses of 10
patients who participated in phase I clinical trials launched in 2001 to assess
whether injected NGF – a protein essential to cellular growth, maintenance and
survival – might safely slow or prevent neuronal degeneration in patients with

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