ASU Associate Professor Dr. David Brafman is using personalized medicine to study the origins of Alzheimer’s. Dr. Brafman is tracing the origins of Alzheimer’s as a way to reprogram stem cells and potentially find a cure for the disease. We recently spoke to Dr. Brafman about his research.
“What we use to model this disease is a special type of Stem cell called induced pluripotent stem cells and these cells are derived from patients and reprogram cells to essentially take on the characteristics of early development,” Brafman said.
Brafman says this type of research can help his lab find the origins of the disease. He also says this research can help identify why some people are more predisposed to develop this disease, as well as commonalities between those who develop it.
A difficult aspect of treating Alzheimer’s is that by the time many develop noticeable symptoms, treatment becomes very difficult.
“What we’re trying to identify is genetic diagnostic markers that might have profiles that predispose them towards Alzheimer’s disease so we could maybe introduce therapeutic interventions earlier,” Brafman said
Another therapeutic strategy thought about is potentially swapping the harmful genes that lead to Alzheimer’s for less harmful ones. Brafman said his lab is looking at the potential for genome editing and genetic risk factors that may lead to the disease.
Brafman said this research could be used to trace the origins of other diseases down the road as well, and not just Alzheimer’s.