"Medicine is not only preventive, it is also curative. Take a child with Down Syndrome. The cause of the disease is this unfortunate chromosome which disrupts everything else.
Are you going to let yourself believe that there will never be anything we will be able to do for this child? That would be the only sin against the spirit one could commit in medicine. Right now, very crudely, I will admit that I cannot cure these children. But one can envisage, without the shadow of a doubt, the day when it will be possible."
Preclinical research has put into evidence the therapeutic potential of the molecule EGCG, epigallocatechol gallate, extracted from green tea, on the intellectual capacities of people with Down Syndrome. It would apparently be related to the capacity that EGCG has in modulating the activity of Dyrk1A, one of the target genes for treating Down Syndrome.
|L'équipe de chercheurs entourant Mara Dierssen|
The research team, led by Mara Dierssen and Rafael de la Torre in Barcelona, has been working for months on a clinical trial with young adults from 18 to 30 years old living with Down Syndrome to check out the effect of EGCG combined with a cognitive stimulation protocol. This treatment aims at improving these people’s memory and learning capacities and increasing their everyday skills. The people who participated in the study were assessed on a cognitive performance level.
25 of the 87 persons who took part in the trial underwent, as well as the treatment, complementary neuro-imagery (MRI magnetic resonance imaging) and neurophysiological (transcranial magnetic stimulation, TMS) explorations. These complementary explorations enabled the researchers to link the changes noticed in the cognitive area to the modifications of neuronal communication in certain regions of the brain.
The first results of the trials already show an improvement of the memory and executive functions such as taking decisions.
Considering the many hopes and prospects this trials has brought, the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation has invested a great amount to support the Tesdad team in conducting this project by taking on over 50% of the program’s funding.
Now that the first stage of the clinical trial with adults is over, the team of researchers can start preparing for the second stage of the trial which will, this time, concern two groups of children living with Down Syndrome. The first group will include children between 2 and 6 years old and the second group children between 6 and 12.
Tesdad is therefore a very significant clinical trial programme and shows how primordial it is to support medical research as does the Foundation.