Alexander-Disease-Information-Page

Alexander Disease Information Page


What research is being done?

Recent discoveries show that most individuals (approximately 90 percent) with Alexander disease have a mutation in the gene that makes glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). GFAP is a normal component of the brain, but it is unclear how the mutations in this gene causes the disease.  In most cases mutations occur spontaneously are not inherited from parents. A small number of people thought to have Alexander disease do not have identifiable mutations in GFAP, which leads researchers to believe that there may be other genetic or perhaps even non-genetic causes of Alexander disease. Current research is aimed at understanding the mechanisms by which the mutations cause disease, developing better animal models for the disorder, and exploring potential strategies for treatment. At present, there is no exact animal model for the disease; however, mice have been engineered to produce the same mutant forms of GFAP found in individuals with Alexander disease.  These mice form Rosenthal fibers and have a predisposition for seizures, but do not yet mimic all features of human disease (such as the leukodystrophies).  One clinical study is underway to identify biomarkers of disease severity or progression in samples of blood or cerebrospinal fluid.  Such biomarkers, if found, would be a major advantage for evaluating the response to any treatments that are developed in the future.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Leukodystrophies

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What research is being done?

Recent discoveries show that most individuals (approximately 90 percent) with Alexander disease have a mutation in the gene that makes glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). GFAP is a normal component of the brain, but it is unclear how the mutations in this gene causes the disease.  In most cases mutations occur spontaneously are not inherited from parents. A small number of people thought to have Alexander disease do not have identifiable mutations in GFAP, which leads researchers to believe that there may be other genetic or perhaps even non-genetic causes of Alexander disease. Current research is aimed at understanding the mechanisms by which the mutations cause disease, developing better animal models for the disorder, and exploring potential strategies for treatment. At present, there is no exact animal model for the disease; however, mice have been engineered to produce the same mutant forms of GFAP found in individuals with Alexander disease.  These mice form Rosenthal fibers and have a predisposition for seizures, but do not yet mimic all features of human disease (such as the leukodystrophies).  One clinical study is underway to identify biomarkers of disease severity or progression in samples of blood or cerebrospinal fluid.  Such biomarkers, if found, would be a major advantage for evaluating the response to any treatments that are developed in the future.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Leukodystrophies

Recent discoveries show that most individuals (approximately 90 percent) with Alexander disease have a mutation in the gene that makes glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). GFAP is a normal component of the brain, but it is unclear how the mutations in this gene causes the disease.  In most cases mutations occur spontaneously are not inherited from parents. A small number of people thought to have Alexander disease do not have identifiable mutations in GFAP, which leads researchers to believe that there may be other genetic or perhaps even non-genetic causes of Alexander disease. Current research is aimed at understanding the mechanisms by which the mutations cause disease, developing better animal models for the disorder, and exploring potential strategies for treatment. At present, there is no exact animal model for the disease; however, mice have been engineered to produce the same mutant forms of GFAP found in individuals with Alexander disease.  These mice form Rosenthal fibers and have a predisposition for seizures, but do not yet mimic all features of human disease (such as the leukodystrophies).  One clinical study is underway to identify biomarkers of disease severity or progression in samples of blood or cerebrospinal fluid.  Such biomarkers, if found, would be a major advantage for evaluating the response to any treatments that are developed in the future.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Leukodystrophies


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