A ‘turning point’ for Alzheimer’s research?

Posted under Blog on October 11th, 2013 by Editorial Team / No Comments

This week has seen some promising results from research into Alzheimer’s disease with scientists billing the work of a team from the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) Toxicology Unit at the University of Leicester as a ‘turning point’.

The team have discovered a potential treatment that could beat Alzheimer’s disease, after a drug-like compound was successfully used to prevent the death of brain tissue in mice for the first time.

The compound works by blocking a faulty signal in brains affected by neurodegenerative diseases, which shut down the production of essential proteins, leading to brain cells being unprotected and dying.

The compound was tested in mice with prion disease – the closest animal model of human degenerative disorders – but scientists believe the same principles would apply in a human brain.

Lead researcher Professor Giovanna Malacca told the BBC: “This isn’t the compound you would use in people, but it means we can do it and it’s a start.”

Independent observers have reacted positively to the news. Roger Morris, acting head of chemistry at King’s College London said, “This finding, I suspect, will be judged as a turning point in the search for medicines to control and prevent Alzheimer’s.”

Dr Eric Karran, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Targeting a mechanism relevant to a number of neurodegenerative diseases could yield a single drug with wide-reaching benefits, but this compound is still at an early stage. It will be important for these findings to be repeated and tested in models of other neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease”. 

Tags: Alzheimer's, neurons



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