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Polygence Scholar2023
Reya Sankar's profile

Reya Sankar

Class of 2024San Ramon, CA

Project Portfolio

Current and Forthcoming Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease

Started June 16, 2023

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Abstract or project description

While the understanding of life has rapidly advanced, we still have diseases for which there is no cure. Degenerative nerve diseases affect many of your body’s activities such as movement, talking, and more. While most have no cure, treatments may help improve symptoms, relieve pain, and increase mobility. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a common cause of dementia among the elderly. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning and behavioral abilities, interfering with a person’s daily life. Currently, many symptomatic treatments including cholinesterase inhibitors, NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) antagonists, and immunotherapies have been approved for the treatment of AD. People with AD have reduced cerebral content of choline acetyltransferase, causing a decrease in acetylcholine synthesis and impaired cortical cholinergic function. The cholinesterase inhibitor inhibits the degradation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is important for cognitive function and which is reduced in AD; thus inhibiting cholinesterase inhibitors allows the presence of more acetylcholine. NMDA antagonists are competitive molecules that block the NMDA glutamate receptors to normalize the glutamatergic system by blocking glutamate action, thereby improving the cognitive and memory deficits. In recent years, there has been development of several potential disease-modifying approaches based on immunotherapy. One of the most significant approaches is the removal of brain amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) using anti-Aβ antibodies. By using these monoclonal antibodies, immune cells of the body can clear away Aβ plaques and improve cognitive deficits. These treatments are currently symptomatic, but future research is being conducted on potential disease-modifying and disease preventing treatments.