Published on: October 30, 2012
by Kathryn Larson for CBS:
Radiation is often thought of for just treating cancer, but a new groundbreaking Beaumont study finds in mice that it can treat Alzheimer’s.
It’s taken Beaumont’s Radiation Biologist Brian Marples nearly three years to present these findings, but that could mean big things down the road for how doctors treat the deadly disease. “We have a potential here for a new novel treatment here for Alzheimer’s disease,” explained Dr. Marples.
Dr. Marples uses genetically bred mice that are pre-disposed to proteins associated with Alzheimer’s. He says when pulses of radiation are given over several weeks to the brains of these mice — something amazing happens. “We’re seeing a reduction in amaryl beta plaque by 50 to 80 percent following a radiation treatment when we give low doses of repeat fractionated treatments.” he said.
The study indicates that radiation could one day be the new treatment for Alzheimer’s.
“Most of the current treatments for Alzheimer’s disease are drug-based and they are limited by the fact that the drug has to get into the brain and cross the blood-brian barrier. The advantage of radiation is we don’t have to cross the blood-brian barrier. So in that regard it’s totally novel approach to reducing the pathologies associated with Alzheimer’s disease.” said Dr. Marples.
Now that Dr. Marples knows that he can remove the Alzheimer’s plaque, he’s going to take this study further. He’ll do a cognitive study and test these mice and see how they react to things like light, and from there a clinical trial may be in the future.
Dr. Marples said, “Once we’ve established that we can then go on to begin a human study to show if low or modest doses of cranial radiation can reduce the ameloid deposits in a human population and whether that has a benefit on the cognition of the human patients. And that’s an ongoing thing we’re exploring at the moment.”
Dr. Marples concluded, “Not only is radiation a novel treatment for Alzheimers disease — it is a non-invasive procedure and is extremely well tolerated by the animals in this study.”
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