Alzheimer’s is something that has touched loved ones in my own life. Many of us have a friend or family member touched by the horror and heartbreak of Alzheimer’s disease.
September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and it’s worth remembering that nearly 50 million people globally are living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The World Health Organization predicts the situation will worsen in the coming decades: that number will swell to 152 million by 2050.
Alzheimer’s is a chronic neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive cognitive decline. Substantial neuron loss is observed even in patients with mild forms of the illness. Billions of dollars spent on research in the last few decades. Despite this and other tremendous efforts to develop novel medicines and therapies to stop or reverse the disease, there is still no cure.
Can stem cells cure Alzheimer’s disease?
Increasing the number of neurons, or replacing lost ones, could be a potential game-changer for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.
And stem cells are capable of renewing themselves continuously, and differentiating into specialized cells — including neurons. I hold promise that stem cells may possibly hold the key to stamping out Alzheimer’s disease in our lifetime.
Several studies have identified key molecules or drugs that can reverse neuron dysfunction in elderly animals, including via plasma exchange. Transplanting stem cells to substitute for lost neurons is another possibility that’s being avidly studied. UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) recently brought together a multi-disciplinary team to seek new insights into Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Their work includes the potential use of regenerative medicine to treat the disease.
At Acorn, we believe cell therapies and regenerative medicine will play a major role in the next generation of healthcare. People with Alzheimer’s and a host of other devastating diseases and disabilities will benefit.
As a company that collects and cryogenically stores live cells, it’s an exciting and promising time. Cells could help us detect Alzheimer’s earlier. They might become a therapeutic resource in the future. We can harvest and freeze the clock on our cells with no pain and help people live longer and healthier lives. This month, as we remember those battling Alzheimer’s, we couldn’t be more proud of our mission.