COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – An innovative clinical trial in Ohio is giving new hope to Alzheimer’s patients.
There are roughly 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. Right now, there isn’t a cure, but new research out of Columbus looks promising.
David Shorr, 56, of Bexley, Ohio., is one of the first in the country to undergo a new procedure for early-stage Alzheimer’s at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Doctors there are using focused ultrasound to open a layer of cells that protect the brain from infections in the blood. This barrier makes it nearly impossible to deliver known treatment for the disease, but opening the barrier means treatment can get where it needs to go.
Doctors use the 1,000 ultrasound waves through a helmet-like device. Those wave impulses cause microscopic bubbles to expand – opening up the barrier in the brain.
“In this research study, we are not delivering any medications. Our hypothesis is that, by opening the blood brain barrier, a patient’s own immune defense may clear some of those harmful amyloids,” said Krishna.
The procedure is non-invasive and uses MRI guided imaging to target the areas of the brain responsible for memory and cognition. Once inside, doctors can clear out toxic proteins linked to the disease.
Shorr will undergo the procedure three times, at two-week intervals.
“Opening the blood-brain barrier allows us to access more of the brain tissue and be able to increase the effectiveness or bio-availability of the therapeutics,” said Dr. Vibhor Krishna, Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.
If the trial is successful, it would also be used as a treatment for brain tumors and epilepsy.