Is it possible that a drug may one day be a viable treatment for Down Syndrome?
Researchers at John Hopkins University recently received a $250,000. grant from the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation to continue their research on a drug that could help the brain grow more quickly.
According to the official press release, "Down syndrome results from inheriting three, rather than the usual two, copies of chromosome 21, a condition known as trisomy 21 or Ts21. During development, Ts21 causes the cerebellum - the part of the brain that coordinates movement and participates in motor-learning - to grow too slowly, resulting in a small and under-developed structure. A key reason why the cerebellum doesn’t grow fast enough, according to Reeves, is that trisomic cells do not respond to a natural growth factor called Sonic hedgehog."
It goes on to explain that "Reeves’ team discovered that injecting a potential drug called SAG, which stands for sonic agonist, can overcome the reduced response to Sonic and cause trisomic brain cells to grow more normally. In fact, injecting SAG only once allows the cerebellum to grow properly through the first third of its development."
If Professor Reeves and his team are successful, this would be a huge step forward for treatment of Down Syndrome.
It's not clear yet how long this research may take to 'complete' and at what stage a new drug may be released for public use. Not is it clear yet at what stage of Down Syndrome it may be of use.
Still, any progress is worth pursuing in this area, and we can only hope that their research is successful.
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