One of the main features of this disease is the destruction of cholinergic neurons. The new trials target a genetic change in the nerve growth factor. Nerve growth factor (NGF) stimulates cholinergic function, improves memory and prevents cholinergic degeneration in animal models of injury, amyloid over _expression and ageing. The scientists have delivered NGF gene in eight individuals with mild Alzheimer's disease. They had followed up the patients for 22 months and found no side effects or adverse reactions in them.
Scientists had used Mini-Mental Status Examination and Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive subcomponent on the patients to follow the course of the disease. Resultant examination showed improvement in the rate of cognitive decline. Also serial pet scans had showed significant increases in cortical 18-fluorodeoxyglucose after treatment. Brain autopsy from one patient showed good improvement in cells in response to nerve growth factor.
The research was featured in the journal The Lancet.