Alzheimer’s disease is considered to have a major genetic link to it. However, lifestyle and environmental variables may also play a role in the disease’s progression. Alzheimer’s patients have trouble reasoning and making decisions, in addition to memory loss. Mood swings, social seclusion, and delusions may be reported by some patients.
Alzheimer’s disease causes plaques and tangles to develop in the brain, preventing cell-to-cell interaction and eventually causing neuronal damage.
Several preclinical studies have been performed till now to evaluate the success and efficacy of stem cells in treating Alzheimer’s disease. These studies have shown varying results, for instance, in multiple studies, intra-hippocampal injections of stem cells produced mixed results, ranging from considerable donor cell migration and cognitive improvement to no cell migration at all in other trials.
The clinical development of stem cell therapy has been hampered to some extent by the gap between the outcomes of various preclinical experiments. Conversely, the majority of current investigations with stem cell therapy in Alzheimer’s disease are focusing on mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) due to their widely accepted convenience and safety in effectively managing the disease.
The transplantation of MSCs obtained from human umbilical cord blood was shown to be well-tolerated in a successful Phase 1 study. This study has reported the significance of MSCs in cognitive performance. Many other clinical trials are currently underway, with the bulk of them demonstrating good tolerance and improvements in cytokines and other brain biomarkers.
Challenges in Stem Cell Therapy for Alzheimer’s
The important factor in treating Alzheimer’s patients with stem cell therapy is the variety of neuronal processes that are affected. Because each person’s neural network may be damaged differently, pinpointing the particular locations of damage and integrating the additional cells into the old network could be difficult. This effectively means that each Alzheimer’s patient will require personalised stem cell therapy.
Furthermore, because the stem cell transplant merely replaces damaged cells and does not address the hereditary causes of Alzheimer’s disease, there is a potential for relapse in some, if not all, instances.
Alzheimer’s disease is still incurable, and stem cell therapy promises a novel and effective treatment option.
Preclinical findings have not translated that greatly due to the gaps, and the outcomes have been model-dependent. As a result, future research will focus on minimising this unpredictability and developing more stable stem cell therapies for Alzheimer’s patients.