Researchers at the University of Washington have recently developed stem cells capable of modification to better transport proteins in the brain, which could potentially be used as a method to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The two types of proteins involved with brain cell death in people with Alzheimer’s are amyloid beta proteins, which collect around brain cells, and Tau proteins, which collect within cells. It has been found that Alzheimer’s likely stems from an issue with the movement of these proteins, which allows them to aggregate, rather than move around the brain. Researchers found that using gene therapy to target the endosomal network, responsible for transporting proteins around the brain, could lead to an improval of efficacy in protein transportation. It has been found that a compound developed to improve protein assembly and transportation may prove effective in human brain cells. This experiment was conducted by creating neurons from stem cells derived from people with and without Alzheimer’s and analyzing the efficacy of introducing the compound in transporting amyloid beta and Tau proteins throughout different cells. While this research has not been applied outside of a laboratory setting, it shows great promise for modification of the function of protein transportation that could prove effective in preventing the
development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Gray, Leila. “Stem-Cell Study Points to New Approach to Alzheimer's Disease.” Newsroom,
University of Washington, 5 Mar. 2018,