Researchers at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Berlin, have created a gene therapy using mice which could help to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
The team, including US scientists from the Massachusetts General Hospital, and Sangamo Therapeutics, used a gene editing tool called “zinc fingers” to reduce the levels of tau – a key protein that accumulates in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease.
The results, reported in the journal Science Advances, revealed that a single injection into mice of the treatment reduced the tau levels with no side effects, and repaired some damage in the brain.
Meanwhile, another team at the California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC), USA, has developed a model of the early stages of Alzheimer’s in monkeys to better test new treatments.
“We think the macaque is a better model, because it expresses the same versions of tau in the brain as humans do,” said Danielle Beckman, of CNPRC, and first author on the paper.