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Maria Eriksdotter research group

The overall aim of our research is to improve care and treatment of patients with Alzheimer's disease and its precursors.

Worldwide, there are currently 50 million people with dementia, which are estimated to increase to 150 million by 2050 (World Alzheimer report 2018). In Sweden, there are today 150.000 people with various forms of dementia, of which Alzheimer's disease is the most common. No curative treatment is yet available. Our research group is carrying out translational clinical research and operates within experimental as well as epidemiological and clinical research. The main focus of our research is:

1. Cell therapy with nerve growth factor (NGF) for patients with Alzheimer's disease. Capsules with cells which releases NGF is placed with neurosurgery in the basal forebrain in patients with Alzheimer's disease with the hypothesis that NGF will prevent the breakdown of nerve cells and thereby inhibit the progression of the disease. We have shown that the method is safe and well-tolerated with positive effects in half of the patients. Further laboratory- and clinical studies are in progress as well as studies to find new substances with NGF-like effects with the potential to develop into new drugs.

2. Studies on the world's largest Quality Register of dementia diseases, SveDem. www.svedem.se
SveDem was developed by Eriksdotter and colleagues in order to improve dementia care across the country. Newly diagnosed patients with dementia are followed over time. Studies on the investigation, drug therapy and mortality are ongoing as well as interlinking with other data registers.

Group leader

Maria Eriksdotter

Professor/senior physician

Group members

Azadeh Karami

PhD student

Helga Eyjolfsdottir

Affiliated to research

Homira Behbahani

Affiliated to research

Hong Xu

Postdoctoral researcher

Irena Kalar

Affiliated to research

Lars Wahlberg

Affiliated to research

Hoang Minh Tuan

PhD student

Märta Dahlström

PhD Student

Sara Garcia-Ptacek

Affiliated to research

sumonto mitra

Postdoctoral researcher

Åke Seiger

Affiliated to research

Collaborations

We have ongoing collaborations within the "NGF-cellterapi project" and the SveDem project. The group works in close collaboration with the clinical activities at Theme Ageing, Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge, where Eriksdotter and several employees are involved. Members and partners have clinical activities at Karolinska Solna, Södersjukhuset and in Umeå. The Swedish dementia register is available at memory clinics, health centres and special accomodations across the country.

Close partners within the NGF-cellterapi project at the Department are Homira Behbahani, Erik Hjorth, Jaan-Olle Andressoo (Division of Neurogeriatrics), Taher Darreh-Shori, Eric Westman and Daniel Ferreira (Division of clinical Geriatrics). Other important partners are neurosurgeons prof Bengt Linderoth, Associate Professor Per Almquist and Med. Dr. Göran Lind at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, and Theme Neuro, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna, researcher Pontus Forsell, Alzecurestiftelsen, Associate Professor Lars Wahlberg, Gloriana Inc; Providence, Rhode Iseland, prof Ann-Charlotte Granholm, Univ. Denver, Co, USA

Partners within the SveDemprojektet includes, among others, Prof Bengt Winblad, Anders Wimo and Med. Dr. Linus Jönsson (Division of Neurogeriatrics), Dorota Religa (Division of Clinical Geriatrics), Prof. Kristina Johnell (MEB Dept), Associate Professor Kåre Buhlin, Dept. Dental Medicine, prof Peter Nordström, Umeå University and - University Hospital, Prof Henrik Zetterberg, Sahlgrenska Academy and University of Gothenburg, Associate Professor Milica Kramberger, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Research Projects

The overall aim of the research is to improve the care and treatment of patients with Alzheimer's disease and its precursors. The research has two main categories:

1. Cell therapy with nerve growth factor (NGF) to patients with Alzheimer's disease. Capsules with cells which releases NGF is placed with neurosurgery in the basal forebrain in patients with Alzheimer's disease with the hypothesis that NGF shall prevent the breakdown of nerve cells and thereby inhibit the progression of the disease. We have shown that the method is safe and well-tolerated with positive effects in half of the patients.

We are now continuing to develop the method and improve cell survival and the release of the NGF. We also study the other growth factor important to cognitive functions, brain-derived growth factor (BDNF) also with potential as a therapy. Our clinical trials are about to better understand the link between the cholinergic system and growth factors NGF and BDNF.

2. Studies on the world's largest Quality Register of dementia diseases, SveDem. www.svedem.se

SveDem is today present across Sweden at all memory receptions (58), at about 900 health centers (75 %), more than 700 special accomodations with over 80 000 patients newly diagnosed with dementia, and more than 70 000 follow-ups. The goal is to follow the patient through the entire chain of care. More than 30 scientific articles with data from SveDem has been published.

The unique aspect of SveDem is that the development of different dementia diagnoses can be followed over time. By cross-referencing registers such as the patient data register, the drug directory and other quality registries such as RiksStroke, we can gain extensive knowledge of disease progression and treatment in the clinical reality for the benefit of patients. We have ongoing studies on how dementia disease's progress and care are affected by simultaneous stroke, diabetes and depression. We have shown that dementia drugs anticholinesteratic agents seem to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and reduce mortality. Studies are now on-going in which we examine the progression of the various dementia diseases over time and the factors influencing it.

Research support

We are grateful for all support of our research, below are some of those who contribute to our improvement:

The Swedish Research Council (VR)
Hjärnfonden
FORTE
Region Stockholm (ALF-medel, Medel i Nätverkssjukvården)
Johanniterorden
Stohne-stiftelsen
Gamla Tjänarinnor
EU-JPND

Selected publications

Encapsulated cell biodelivery of nerve growth factor to the Basal forebrain in patients with Alzheimer's disease.
Eriksdotter-Jönhagen M, Linderoth B, Lind G, Aladellie L, Almkvist O, Andreasen N, et al
Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2012 ;33(1):18-28

The use of cholinesterase inhibitors and the risk of myocardial infarction and death: a nationwide cohort study in subjects with Alzheimer's disease.
Nordström P, Religa D, Wimo A, Winblad B, Eriksdotter M
Eur. Heart J. 2013 Sep;34(33):2585-91

Changes in CSF cholinergic biomarkers in response to cell therapy with NGF in patients with Alzheimer's disease.
Karami A, Eyjolfsdottir H, Vijayaraghavan S, Lind G, Almqvist P, Kadir A, et al
Alzheimers Dement 2015 Nov;11(11):1316-28

Brain changes in Alzheimer's disease patients with implanted encapsulated cells releasing nerve growth factor.
Ferreira D, Westman E, Eyjolfsdottir H, Almqvist P, Lind G, Linderoth B, et al
J. Alzheimers Dis. 2015 ;43(3):1059-72

Benchmarking biomarker-based criteria for Alzheimer's disease: Data from the Swedish Dementia Registry, SveDem.
Rosén C, Farahmand B, Skillbäck T, Nägga K, Mattsson N, Kilander L, et al
Alzheimers Dement 2015 Dec;11(12):1470-1479

Targeted delivery of nerve growth factor to the cholinergic basal forebrain of Alzheimer's disease patients: application of a second-generation encapsulated cell biodelivery device.
Eyjolfsdottir H, Eriksdotter M, Linderoth B, Lind G, Juliusson B, Kusk P, et al
Alzheimers Res Ther 2016 07;8(1):30

Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and risk of stroke and death in people with dementia.
Tan ECK, Johnell K, Garcia-Ptacek S, Haaksma ML, Fastbom J, Bell JS, et al
Alzheimers Dement 2018 07;14(7):944-951

Prestroke Mobility and Dementia as Predictors of Stroke Outcomes in Patients Over 65 Years of Age: A Cohort Study From The Swedish Dementia and Stroke Registries.
Garcia-Ptacek S, Contreras Escamez B, Zupanic E, Religa D, von Koch L, Johnell K, et al
J Am Med Dir Assoc 2018 02;19(2):154-161

Cerebrospinal fluid from Alzheimer patients affects cell-mediated nerve growth factor production and cell survival in vitro.
Eriksdotter M, Navarro-Oviedo M, Mitra S, Wahlberg L, Linderoth B, Tjernberg LO, et al
Exp. Cell Res. 2018 10;371(1):175-184

 

In press: Mitra S, Behbahani H, Eriksdotter M: Innovative therapy for Alzheimer's disease - with focus on NGF biodelivery (ed AC. Cuello). Review, Frontiers in Neuroscience, section Neurodegeneration, in press 2019