Treating Alzheimer's with Gene Therapy and the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (2021-2022)

The causative factors and the mechanism behind the onset of Late-onset Alzheimer’s Disease (LOAD) remain unknown, but there is hope that gaining insight into the biological pathways and molecular basis underlying the causes of LOAD will lead to the development of disease-modifying and/or preventative treatments.

Since 2019, this team has been working to develop an ethical disease modifying therapy (DMT) for LOAD using gene therapy. At the same time, the team has been examining the legal, social and ethical questions surrounding novel therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.

In 2022, team members tested methods to identify high-risk genetic variants and discern their mechanisms, including developing techniques to repress the expressions of the APOE E4 gene, which is widely associated with LOAD. The team also interviewed clinicians to explore their thoughts regarding future treatments for Alzheimer's Disease and identify factors that cause disparity in diagnosis of the disease and impact treatment decisions.

Learn more about this project team by viewing the team's video.


Summer 2021 – Spring 2022 

Team Outputs

Developing Ethical Gene Therapy Treatment for Alzheimer’s (2022 Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase)

Treating Alzheimer's with Gene Therapy and the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (poster by Suraj Dhulipalla, Mohanapriya Cumaran, Cordelia Hume, Ishika Gupta, Lilly Kelemen, Sahil Malhotra, Suraj Upadhya, Satya Yalamanchi, Nathan Boucher, Ornit Chiba-Falek and Boris Kantor, presented at Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 13, 2022)

This Team in the News

Senior Spotlight: Reflections from the Class of 2023

See earlier related team, Gene Therapy for Alzheimer's Disease and Ethical Aspects of Genome Editing (2020-2021).


Image: Mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, by NIH Image Gallery, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

Team Leaders

  • Nathan Boucher, Sanford School of Public Policy
  • Ornit Chiba-Falek, School of Medicine-Neurology
  • Boris Kantor, School of Medicine-Neurobiology

/graduate Team Members

  • Zollie Yavarow, Pharmacology-PHD, Bioethics and Sci Policy - AM

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Natalie Asmus, Biology (BS)
  • Mohanapriya Cumaran, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Suraj Dhulipalla, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Ishika Gupta, Psychology (BS)
  • Cordelia Hume, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Lilly Kelemen, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Sahil Malhotra, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Suraj Upadhya, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Angela Wei, Biology (BS)
  • Satya Yalamanchi, Biology (BS)
  • Anna Yang, Biology (BS)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Julio Barrera, School of Medicine-Neurology
  • Logan Brown, School of Medicine-Neurobiology