Alzheimer's disease is a huge challenge for modern medicine to treat, and it is made worse by factors like an ageing population, changing lifestyle preferences, and an increase in the number of affected individuals. The financial cost and impact on the daily lives of patients and members highlight the even greater requirement for effective treatments. With over 50 million people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases globally, the number of new cases is expected to triple by 2050, according to Ailioaie et al. (2023) if preventative measures and innovative therapeutic techniques are not taken.
When it comes to spotting early indicators of Alzheimer's disease, many people seek help from doctors for problems such as memory loss or difficulty memorizing names. However, because the patients are unaware of the underlying illness, these symptoms frequently go unnoticed
A common medication that contains Donepezil that doctors prescribe to treat different stages of Alzheimer's disease is Aricept®. Some drugs like Aducanumab and Lecanemab work by removing plaques in the brain. Other drugs, like Exelon®, Razadyne®, and Namenda®, help with memory and thinking for a little while. They may have side effects like nausea, headaches, or constipation. Combination drugs, like Namzaric®, combine different medicines to help with Alzheimer's symptoms.
While these drugs may provide temporary relief, patients often find themselves returning to a physician seeking additional prescriptions or exploring behavioral therapies. In this blog, we explore the fields of transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM) and nanomedicine as promising add-on therapy to assist people with Alzheimer's disease.
Collaborative Potential of PBM and Nanotechnology for Alzheimer's Disease Treatment
Due to the lack of success with single-target drugs, the use of combining therapies with the potential to target multiple factors appears to be the most promising approach for treating Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Nanomaterials have demonstrated the ability to deliver multiple drugs simultaneously, including chemical compounds, genes, peptides, and antibodies. This capability offers a hopeful prospect for an effective therapeutic option in Alzheimer’s disease treatment.
Collaboration between nanotechnologies and current tPBM approaches holds promise for the future of clinical drug research and presents itself as a compelling add-on to conventional drug treatments. This treatment offers previously unimaginable opportunities for treating a wide range of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric conditions, including Alzheimer's disease.
Cutting-edge drug delivery techniques and groundbreaking research in tPBM and blood-brain barrier endothelial cell targeting contribute to these advancements.
“A brilliant partnership between the laser/light industry and the future of clinical drug development in the light of nanotechnologies offers hope to patients with AD and dementia”, stated the authors of the study, also mentioning that “tPBM with near-infrared (NIR) light may be a promising non-pharmacological treatment for cognitive impairment in AD”.
Light Therapy for Alzheimer's Disease
Transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM) has gained recognition as a clinical therapy option due to its ease of use, safety, reliability, and potential for self-administration. By leveraging red and near-infrared (NIR) light therapy, tPBM shows promise in supplementing pharmacological treatments and enhancing cognitive and motor functions, particularly in the frontal and midbrain regions.
Given the toll Alzheimer's disease takes on millions of lives and healthcare systems worldwide, exploring emerging approaches like tPBM offers hope for effective therapy and cognitive development. Researchers are now using light therapy to uncover new avenues for repairing the central nervous system and improving the lives of those affected by neurodegenerative disorders.
As mentioned above, the collaboration between the PBM research community and drug developers will play a vital role in realizing disease-modifying treatments and shaping a better future for Alzheimer's disease patients.
If you want to learn more about current research on light therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), please visit our Alzheimer’s research page.
Ailioaie, R.M.; Ailioaie, C.; Litscher, G. Photobiomodulation in Alzheimer’s Disease—A Complementary Method to State-of-the-Art Pharmaceutical Formulations and Nanomedicine? 2023. Available online: https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4923/15/3/916
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