Banner Sun Health Research Institute conducts revolutionary study - Your West Valley News: Topstory

Banner Sun Health Research Institute conducts revolutionary study

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Posted: Sunday, March 14, 2010 11:00 pm

Volunteers are being sought for a study at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City that its research and medical director says is thinking "totally out of the box."

The study delivers genetic code — DNA — into the brain through a surgical procedure which turns brain cells on, causing them to multiply through nerve growth factor.

"All of the body has the natural ability to heal," said Dr. Marwan Sabbagh. "And one of the healing factors is nerve growth factors."

Sabbagh said research has found that Alzheimer’s patients are lacking in these nerve growth factors.

"And when nerve growth factors start to be produced, and start making brain cells, critical brain cells start to be produced and start making brain cells — critical brain cells for memory to start to work again," Sabbagh said.

"This is really exciting stuff, way out there in terms of innovation."

Sabbagh said the procedure works by delivering DNA through a virus.

"The virus is the envelope, and the DNA is the letter," Sabbagh said. "The DNA inserted sends a message to the brain cells to start."

Sabbagh said a similar procedure has been performed on those with brain tumors for the past 10 years.

The SHRI is one of 10 in the United States conducting the study and the only non-university site involved.

Sabbagh said 10 local participants, age 55 to 80, with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease are needed for the study. An involved caregiver also is required.

For information on the study, call the SHRI at 623-876-5328.

Joy Slagowski may be reached at 623-876-2514 or

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