Dementia can arise from multiple conditions, and it is characterized by an array of symptoms including problems with memory, attention, communication, and physical coordination. The two most common causes of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and white matter strokes, which are small strokes that accumulate in the connecting areas of the brain. “It’s a vicious cycle: the two leading causes of dementia are almost always seen together and each one accelerates the other,” said Dr. S. Thomas Carmichael, senior author of the study and interim director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA.
Currently, there are no therapies capable of stopping the progression of white matter strokes or enhancing the brain’s limited ability to repair itself after they occur. A new study, published in Science Translational Medicine, identifies a cell therapy that can stop the progressive damage caused by the disease and stimulate the brain’s own repair processes.
Upon injection, our cell therapy traveled to damaged areas of the brain and secreted chemicals called growth factors that stimulated the brain’s stem cells to launch a repair response. Stem cells have been quite the focus over the past decade; they seem to be miracle cells! This is a great step forward in dementia research. Let’s hope the studies continue and our residents may benefit from new and exciting treatments.
Stay well, mask up indoors, and stay tuned!