Does the blood of those who exercise hold the key to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease?
We ask this question in order to contribute to test approaches that potentially may lead to improved ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common form of dementia. The greatest risk factor for AD is old age and as the world population is rapidly aging, the prevalence of this ultimately fatal disease is forecast to nearly triple by 2050. One person is diagnosed every minute, and to date, no effective treatment options are available.
Several research studies have shown that the health of the heart and blood vessels is closely linked to the health of the brain, and exercise training has been shown to be effective in AD prevention. However, it is not known how this works. Scientists from Harvard and Stanford University recently showed that blood from young mice injected into old mice had the ability to actually rejuvenate brain ageing, and protect from AD related damage. This research proposes the possibility that blood in general contains small molecules that if identified and shown effective can be put in a pill and used to treat patients. Stanford researchers have initiated the first trials to test whether blood from healthy young adults may be beneficial for AD patients.
We believe that blood from exercise trained young-adult donors has the potential to be effective in slowing brain ageing and preventing development of AD, even to a greater extent than young blood. The question of exercised blood as therapy for AD has never been addressed. We are very enthusiastic about this promising study which has potential to be groundbreaking in AD research.
The study is performed in collaboration with world leading scientists at the Kavli Institute at NTNU, and doctors and scientists (Neurology and the Blood Bank) from St. Olavs Hospital, the University of Oslo and Harvard Medical School.
The number of people around the world above the age of 60 is increasing, and forecast to reach 2 billion by 2050. With this come the challenges of handling age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). No cure exists; AD-drug candidates have a failure rate of 99.6%, treatment options are only marginally effective, the need for optimized prevention, diagnostics and treatment is obvious.
Exercise training and particularly a high age-relative fitness level are emerging as the most promising preventive “AD medicines” with direct beneficial impact on enhancing cognitive function as well as quality of life. Many diseased MCI/AD patients are not able to exercise and may, therefore, not be able to benefit from the positive effects of exercise training. In this study, we aim to test the hypothesis that blood borne factors induced by exercise are responsible for beneficial effects of exercise on the brain. The study is part of a long-lasting translational and multidisciplinary effort to determine whether physical activity and exercise-induced blood borne factors hold the key to prevent and treat AD and neurodegeneration. Here we will use a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled design and investigate the effect of regular (3x4 weeks over 12 months) transfusion of fresh frozen plasma from well-trained healthy donors (ExPlas) into blood-type matched patients with MCI or early stage AD upon cognitive function, functional capacity, biomarker-profile in cerebrospinal fluid, fMRI, fitness and quality of life. Our overarching hypothesis is that exercised blood slow progression of disease, improve cognitive function and functional capacity, and ameliorate disease biomarker-profile.
The study is approved by the Regional Ethical Committee (REK 2018/702) and the Norwegian Medicines Agency (Statens Legemiddelverk), EudraCT No. 2018-000148-24.
BEHANDLING-God og treffsikker diagnostikk, behandling og rehabilitering