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14 Sep 2015 0 Comments

Alzheimer’s Disease - Umbilical Cord Blood Cells Could Be The Answer

Everybody would like to grow older with their family, grand children and loved ones near them as it fulfils their life. Imagine a world with no memory of your loved ones, forgetting you daily chores, inability to make a conversation and being completely dependent on a caretaker; this is the life of people affected with Alzheimer’s disease. According to 2010 data, around 26 million people are affected by Alzheimer’s across the world. There are many clinical studies going on for the treatment of Alzheimer’s as it is expected to quadruple by 2050. It is also the fourth leading cause of death in elderly people because the condition often affects individuals over 60 years of age.

Researchers at the University of South Florida have found out that the human umbilical cord blood cells (HUCBCs) are capable of controlling the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and improve the patients’ quality of life. They conducted a research study on the effects of monocytes found in the umbilical cord blood to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s in mice model. This study led by Dr. Jun Tian of Rashid Laboratory for Developmental Neurobiology emphasizes the reduced behavioral deficits in mice after injecting HUCBCS through the process of cell transplantation.

Monocytes are a type of white blood cells that play a crucial role in maintaining the immunity of the body. It can also help in clearing the aggregated Amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques found in the brain of Alzheimer patients. The Aβ molecules tend to aggregate and form amyloid plaques which are toxic to the nerve cells, thereby affecting the normal functions of the brain. In mice model, the HUCBCs are found to modulate the inflammation, diminish the amyloid beta pathology, and control the behavioral deficit which in turn controlled the symptoms of the disease. The researchers have also found that the monocytes derived from umbilical cord blood helped in improving memory, learning and motor functions etc., that are usually affected by the disease.

This is the first study that explains the effects of human umbilical cord blood cells in fixing and improving the peripheral immune functioning of patients with Alzheimer’s rather than direct interaction with the affected neurons. Dr Tian said, “We believe restoring the balance between molecules that promote and inhibit inflammation could play a role in future treatments against Alzheimer’s.”

This is the first study that explains the effects of human umbilical cord blood cells in fixing and improving the peripheral immune functioning of patients with Alzheimer’s rather than direct interaction with the affected neurons. Dr Tian said, “We believe restoring the balance between molecules that promote and inhibit inflammation could play a role in future treatments against Alzheimer’s.”

With further research and clinical trials, this treatment strategy could also treat humans in future. As these medical conditions are increasing at an alarming rate, novel research studies could help the scientists find advanced treatment options for patients suffering from incurable disorders.

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