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Advances in Degenerative Medicine 

Overview

There is currently a shift in the predominant types of diseases in today’s western society. Gone are the days of premature deaths from infection and as a result of advances in medical technology the average life expectancy is ever increasing. However, as our bodies live longer, problems arise with the deterioration in the structure and function of organs and tissues. This has opened up a whole new field of medicine for which there is an increasing focus of research. 

Difficulties

This area of medical research has many difficulties in that in order to find ways to treat these diseases we first need to understand the processes which contribute to aging and then how to reverse them. The process of aging is very complex and is thought to be underpinned by the process of cellular senescence. This is the theory that cells have a limited ability to divide. This can lead to irreversible changes on a cellular level which ultimately, when occuring on a large scale, lead to death. There are many theories as to the causes of this ageing process, most of which involve genetic processes.

Current Treatments

Several substances have been shown to retard or reverse the ageing process in animal models but as of yet this has not been shown in humans. Consequently many of the drugs used to treat degenerative diseases are involved in treating the consequences of cell death and ageing. The most common consequence of the ageing process is often an inflammatory response to the dead cells which can cause many further complications to the disease process.  Many treatments for degenerative diseases are therefore anti-inflammatory drugs. 

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)

One of the most common degenerative diseases is Alzheimer’s which involves progressive inflammatory damage to the brain leading to memory loss and dementia. This disease affects nearly 50% of those over 80 and there is currently no cure available. 

Treatments for AD

Treatments involve managing the symptoms and are palliative in nature. There have been recent advances in the development of drugs used to treat this disease. A drug similar to that used for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, PMX205, has shown signs of increasing the ability of mice, with Alzheimer like symptoms, in memory and learning exercises. The drug acts by reducing the inflammatory immune cells. A similar drug PMX53 passed phase 1 clinical trials with no major problems; PMX205 is modified from this with more potent effects on this brain disorder. 

 

TJC Oxford

If we are to continue to address the growth in this field of medicine and to respond with further advances in research for treatments there needs to be a greater interaction on a global level. Our experienced linguists can offer translation services for documents, research, histories and records and interpreting for conferences, clinical meetings, consultations, symposiums and other settings to ensure that language is not a barrier. 

For more information about our medical laguage services, please see our Medical Translation and Medical Interpreting pages

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