Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by buildup of two proteins, amyloid beta plaques and tau tangles, which destroy nearby brain cells. A recent study proposes a new therapy that uses the immune system to slow down the disease. Namely, this therapy directs the immune cells with the help of CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG ODN) to swallow these dangerous proteins and therefore helps stop the progression of Alzheimer’s.

The new therapy was tested on eldery monkeys and showed promissing results. After the treatment the monkeys had up to 59% less amyloid plaque deposits and a drop in levels of toxic tau in their brains compared to the monkeys without treatment.

Another positive aspect of the proposed therapy is that it seems to improve thinking and learning (cognitive) abilities. Elderly monkeys after the treatment, performed on puzzles similarly to young adult animals and much better than untreated monkeys. They also were faster in learning new puzzle-solving skills than their peers without treatment.

The researchers believe that the successful results of their therapy using the immune system are thanks to the cycles of the treatment, giving the immune system a chance to rest between doses and in this way to avoid excess inflammation. This in contrast to previous failed treatments that overstimulated the immune system, leading to high levels of inflammation that kill brain cells.

The next step of the researchers is to test CpG ODN therapy on real patients with brain health issues and related neurodegenerative illnesses.

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Tatsiana Haponava, PhD

a certified nutrition coach, educator and researcher with a PhD degree

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