Doctor Francisco Lopera And Alzheimer’s Disease

dr. Francisco Lopera leads a group that has been researching Alzheimer’s disease for 30 years. Their hard work has allowed them to find a new way to treat Alzheimer’s disease that will likely help fight it more effectively.
Doctor Francisco Lopera and Alzheimer's Disease

Currently, five major research projects are trying to develop drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Four of these are being developed in the United States and one in Colombia. The latter is led by Dr. Francisco Lopera, who has made amazing progress in the 30 years he has studied this disease.

The difference between the work of Dr. Francisco Lopera and that of other researchers is that, partly by chance and partly by constant searching, he has found a new way to tackle the disease. This method is related to genetic idiosyncrasies that he found in one of his patients.

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that causes a lot of suffering in people who suffer from it, as well as in their families. The progressive amnesia and different skills equate to a slow death of identity, life projects and a reason to live.

Many people around the world are waiting for a cure, or at least for a more effective way to treat Alzheimer’s disease than the current way.

Doctor Francisco Lopera and Alzheimer's Disease

The research of Dr. Francisco Lopera

dr. Francisco Lopera leads a research project in which he has collaborated with the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, the Gentech Company, and more recently, with experts from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Schepens Eye Research Institute.

The headquarters of their work is the Antioquia University in Colombia. He has spent a lot of time developing a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Scientists have made important advances, but the drugs on the market are limited. For these reasons, and for several years now, research has focused on prevention rather than cure.

For the time being, there are more and more reliable methods for early detection. However, these are advanced procedures that are not yet available to everyone and are only used in research groups. But it is likely that they will be available to everyone soon, which is a great step forward.

Another avenue for research

dr. Franciso Lopera has thus found a new avenue for research and hopefully this will enable doctors to better treat Alzheimer’s disease. It all started in 1984, when he was a neurologist.

A patient who was only 47 years old and already in the advanced stages of this disease went to him. Looking into this case, he found that this patient’s father, grandfather, and uncles had also had the same thing.

This led him to make a genealogy of this family and so he found the first family group with a hereditary form of Alzheimer’s. Later, as a researcher, he found two more families with the same characteristics.

Eleven years after that initial finding , his working group proved that it was indeed Alzheimer’s disease and that in this case the disease was the result of a gene mutation.

Years passed and new cases appeared. In all cases, they found the same features. They called it “paisa mutation” because there were no other references to it in the world.

Paisa specifically refers to a population that lives in the north of Colombia in the Andes. However, the truly amazing part of this research was yet to happen.

Brain of someone with Alzheimer's disease

New ways to treat Alzheimer’s disease

dr. Lopera explains that in Alzheimer’s disease there is a kind of ‘waste’ buildup in the brain. It consists of a protein called amyloid.

Fragments stick together and then form a kind of ‘glue’ that sticks to the neurons and causes a number of malfunctions in the brain. The other part of the “waste” is tau, which wraps around the neuron, traps it and finally kills it. Tau is more harmful.

Now one of the patients treated by Francisco Lopera was a member of one of the families that had the mutation and she also developed it. However, unlike all her relatives, she did not develop the disease at an early stage.

Her first symptoms did not manifest until she was in her seventies. Her case was completely exceptional, which is why the investigation focused on her.

After careful studies in Boston, experts found that the patient’s brain was filled with amyloid, even more than in other cases. However, she had very little tau. The study allowed them to verify that in this particular patient, another mutation inhibited the production of tau and this was what slowed the progression of the disease.

Is Dr. Francisco Lopera the answer?

The journal Nature published the article, which opened an entirely new avenue of research to treat Alzheimer’s. Experts believe that based on the information gathered from this patient, it would be possible to develop gene therapy and replicate this genetic information in other people.

Experts are also considering developing a drug to mimic the mechanism of the protective mutation. We will continue to monitor the investigations closely!

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