Desperate Measures - Gene Therapy

in STEMGeeks5 months ago

"My best way is to creep under his gaberdine; there is no other shelter hereabout. Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows."

Shakespeare, The Tempest

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Introduction

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

No one can escape the consequences of time. One irrefutable consequence I've learned about is that you will experience passing from it despite the quality and care of your life. Regardless of how you pass, that time will inevitably arrive. For some, that passing could occur after a long, fulfilling life. For others, the time may come in a much more abrupt manner.

One particularly horrid aspect of life is knowing that your family members will reach that point due to suffering from some godforsaken disease like Alzheimer's. It is a condition I wish upon no sentient being. Over time, you lose your memory, identity, bodily control, and then your life.

Alzheimer's impacts the lives of almost 50-million people worldwide, and this doesn't include the lives of the family and loved ones who care for the afflicted.

However, in February 2019, a potential therapy arose that may lead to an eventual cure for Alzheimer's disease.

Potential Cause

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

The Alzheimer's Associationprovides a laundry list of generic causes to the disease, as well as recommended behaviors to limit your risks. People and families suffering from their illness may not wish for a general understanding of limiting risk. Research is available, however, that provides a strong link between genetics and risk for the disease.

Apolipoprotein E4 (apoE4)

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Apolipoprotein, otherwise known as APOE, consists of three versions. APOE4 is the version whose presence within people presents the greatest risk of acquiring the disease. APOE2, another version of APEO, presents the opposite effect of the APOE4 gene. APOE2 acts to negate the effects of APOE4 and seems to reduce the possibility of developing Alzheimer's.

According to the MIT Technology Review, doctors won't even test for the protein in people because of the potential effect the results may have on the people receiving the test.

Desperation and Bedfellows

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The scientific community has plenty of potential causes of the disease with no single common cause. In their desperation, researchers designed an experiment that bypasses the potential mechanisms of the disease with the hopes of jumping right to a cure.

Science normally takes the time felt needed to explore all aspects of a thing. Considering Alzheimer's, that expectation is not the case.

Clinical Trial #NCT03634007 recruits volunteers to conduct a first-attempt at stopping the progression of Alzheimer's. The study seeks out the following in each of its participants, at a minimum:

  • Participants must be age 50 or older
  • Possess two copies of the APOE4 protein
  • Demonstrate symptoms of Alzheimer's disease

You can view additional information about the clinical trial at ClinicalTrials.gov.

Treatment Methodology

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

The scope of the clinical trial involves packing billions of prepared viruses with the APOE2 protein. Scientists will then flood the cerebrospinal fluid with these viruses with the expectation that they will travel into the brain.

The viruses are then expected to insert the APOE2 proteins throughout the brain. The overall expectation of this procedure is that the presence of sufficient APOE2 proteins will slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

In Closing

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The clinical trial is scheduled for completion in December 2021. I'm not certain of its volunteers' status, but I doubt they would have had trouble getting participants despite delays brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

My hopes and prayers go out to anyone impacted by this illness. If this trial is successful, then we are one step closer to actually treating this disease.

Thank you for reading and following on throughout my Hive journey.

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This particular type of illness is a very strange one. It's a pity that we are dealing with Corona virus and many other illnesses are also coming up from different places

One thing I always believe in is that we all are already in this world so we just have to try as much as possible to live as long as as we can.

I hope that anyone facing this illness can be able to recover

Thank you for your response. I agree that the presence of the Coronavirus doesn't bode well for the treatment of other diseases. The stigma of COVID-19 is particularly frustrating for me. If you get sick, suddenly your ailments become COVID-19 related. It's ridiculous.

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