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Professor Giovanna Mallucci , who led the work while at the UK Dementia Research Institute at the University of Cambridge , said : “ Essentially , the cold shock protein enables the brain to protect itself – in this case , against the damage to nerve cells in the brain during prion disease .
" Remarkably , we showed that just a single injection with the ASO was sufficient to provide long-lasting protection for these mice , preventing the inevitable progression of neurodegeneration .”
“ This approach offers the prospect of being able to protect against diseases such as Alzheimer ’ s and Parkinson ’ s disease , for which we have no reliable preventative treatments ,” added Professor Florian Heyd , from Freie Universität Berlin .
“ We are still a long way off this stage as our work was in mice , but if we can safely use ASOs to boost production of the cold shock protein in humans , it might be possible to prevent dementia . We are already seeing ASOs being used to successfully treat spinal muscular atrophy and they have recently been licenced to treat motor neurone disease .”
If the findings can be replicated in humans , this approach could have major implications for the treatment of patients beyond neurodegeneration . These include acute brain injury from newborn babies with hypoxia through protecting the brain in heart surgery , stroke and head injury in adults who would otherwise be treated by therapeutic hypothermia . �
This research was originally published by the University of Cambridge and it was supported by core funding from the Freie Universität Berlin and by the UK Dementia Research Institute , which in turn is funded by the Medical Research Council , Alzheimer ’ s Society and Alzheimer ’ s Research UK .
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