A molecule improves the capacities of a mouse with downs syndrome

Publié le : 9 September 2013

 A team of American scientists at the Institute of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University (Maryland) and national health institutes (NHI) have identified a molecule, the injection of a single dose of which has "allowed the [mouse] brain […], [genetically modified to reproduce downs syndrome in humans], to develop normally and boost its memory and learning capacity". The study has been published in the Science Translational Medicine journal
Dr Roger Reeves, Professor at the Institute for Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University and one of the main authors of the study explains that "the brain of people with downs syndrome is only 60% of a normal sized brain". He pointed out that they "did not expect this substance to affect memory and learning, which are functions generally controlled by the hippocampus".       
Scientists nevertheless remain extremely cautious given the "cancer risks associated with making a significant alteration to a cerebral biological mechanism, which could trigger excessive cell growth", and using a molecule, the safety of which has not yet been confirmed, in downs syndrome patients. All the same, scientists consider the results of this study to be very promising and stress that the study paves the way for human treatments having similar effects. 

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