A remarkable study was published about the treatment of a 77-year-old Caucasian man with severe dementia and behavioral disturbance. The man was admitted with late onset Alzheimer’s Disease and treated with memamtine. His condition however continued to decline. 16 months after the start of memamtine treatment the patient’s condition had severely worsened. He was unable to remember his name, the calendar date, day of the week, year, or place, and could not recognize family members. Additional impairments included slurred speech, expressive aphasia, loss of bowel/bladder control, and lack of coordination marked by an inability to sit, stand, or walk unassisted.
At that point the family gave the researchers consent to start an experimental treatment with human recombinant deoxyribonuclease I (DNase I) (1500 KU/mg) given orally three times a day in conjunction with his continued memantine therapy. The DNase I was well tolerated, and no averse or unanticipated events were registered.
The reseachers reported the following results:
Our patient demonstrated considerable cognitive improvement beginning on the second day of DNase I treatment, becoming partially oriented to time and place, and once again recognizing and remembering the names of family members. He further became able to dress himself, including tying shoelaces and buttons, as well as walk independently, feed himself, and use an exercise bike. Neurologic abnormalities affecting his gait were significantly reduced. His MMSE score increased dramatically from 3 to 16, and his FAST score was reduced from 7 to 5. However, he continued to score low on the MMSE for measures of orientation to time and place, memory, and visuospatial construction.
Two months following the initiation of DNase I treatment (19 months following initiation of memantine treatment), our patient exhibited an MMSE score 18 and a FAST score of 4. Moderate improvements in memory were observed, although visuospatial construction continued to decline. He was better able to speak and interact with others, recognize relatives, and actively attend to television programs. Our patient further became able to perform calculations, play piano, chess, and walk independently.
DNase I, is an endonuclease coded by the human gene DNASE1. DNase I is a nuclease (an enzyme that cleaves the chains of nucleotides into smaller units) that cleaves DNA. It acts on single-stranded DNA, double-stranded DNA, and chromatin. In addition to its role as a waste-management endonuclease, it has been suggested to be one of the deoxyribonucleases responsible for DNA fragmentation during apoptosis.
Cell-free DNA (cf-DNA), including bacteria-derived DNA, may be another target. The researchers noted that circulating cf-DNA has been observed to play an important role in the progression and maintenance of different disease states, including cancer, stroke, and other.
In addition, it has been suggested that cf-DNA could promote auto-inflammation. In this study which was published by another group of researchers at roughly the same time auto-inflammation was observed to be a possible cause of dementia. The researchers put together strong arguments that the neurological decline common to these diseases is caused by ‘auto-inflammation’, where the body’s own immune system develops a persistent inflammatory response and causes brain cells to die.
Another positive aspect is that the use of DNase I for the treatment of a disease called cystic fibrosis was approved on December 30, 1993 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which means it is commonly available today. It is also a good example of strengthening the abilities of the own body to treat diseases. In this case 40 mg of human recombinant DNase I (1500 KU/mg) was given orally three times a day in conjunction with the memantine therapy (10 mg daily). The DNase I was well tolerated, and no averse or unanticipated events were registered.
Ofcourse further research is required but the results sound so spectacular that it may make sense to inquire with treating physicians of loved ones that are in a late/terminal stage of dementia about the possibilities to repeat the treatment carried out in this study.
You can find the report here.