Published: 23-02-2017 16:26 | Updated: 23-02-2017 16:41

Biological effects and therapeutic potential of NGF in Alzheimer´s

Hi Helga Eyjolfsdottir, you recently defended your thesis "Nerve growth factor in Alzheimer´s disease: biological effects and therapeutic potential" at the Division of Clinical Geriatrics..

What´s the main focus of your thesis?

"The main focus of the thesis is to explore the therapeutic potential of a new and innovative treatment in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), with nerve growth factor (NGF). This method has previously been tested in animals and was now tested in a clinical trial on AD patients, by way of a new technique using encapsulated NGF releasing cells, targeted towards cholinergic neurons in to the basal forebrain".

Which are the most important results?

"The results, with safety and tolerability as primary outcome measures and effects on cognition and biomarkers as secondary outcome measures, demonstrate safety and tolerability in a total of 10 AD patients. We also found signs of a stimulation on cholinergic neurons in the brain, cells that degenerate selectively and early on in AD".

How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health?

"The results generate new knowledge on AD, and several findings presented in the thesis are published for the first time, for example measurements on neurotrophins in cerebrospinal fluid, which have not previously been measured. The clinical trial is the first of its kind in the world testing targeted delivery of NGF with encapsulated cells in patients with AD, an incurable and deadly disease, where there is currently no disease modifying therapy available".

What´s in the future for you? Will you keep on conducting research?

"I will hopefully continue with my research as a part time researcher, but I am also a physician and will also continue with my clinical job at the hospital (Danderydsgeriatriken)".

The thesis

Nerve growth factor in Alzheimer’s disease : biological effects and therapeutic potential