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Alzheimer's Disease

Fetal Stem Cell Research in Alzheimer's Disease

08/21/2001

Question:

I have heard and read so much lately about how fetal stem cell research holds so much promise for patients suffering from Alzheimer`s Disease. How will the fetal stem cells be used? Will they be implanted into a patient`s brain? Will they be used to develop medications and new therapies? Will they be used to reconfigure a person`s DNA against Alzheimer`s Disease? Please advise. Thanks.

Answer:

Hello! Thank you very much for writing to us. Dr. Geldmacher, who is part of a team at the University Alzheimer Center has answered. "The media reports that routinely list Alzheimer`s disease as one of the target diseases for stem cell research represent more hype than science. They are probably playing on the "name recognition" of AD rather than any proposed models for understanding or treating the disease. Clearly, stem cells may be vital for developing new ways of understanding how all body cells work, but the leap to clinically-expressed AD is a very long and treacherous one." "With our current level of knowledge about the brain and about stem cells, there is little or no indication that stem cell research will directly impact Alzheimer`s therapy in the next 5 or even more years." Thanks again for sending us your question. If you need more information or have other questions, please let us know.

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Memory and Cognition Center

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Response by:

Paula K Ogrocki, PhD Paula K Ogrocki, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University

David   Geldmacher, MD David Geldmacher, MD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Neurology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University