Scientists say they have made an historic breakthrough in the search for an effective Alzheimer's disease treatment, determining a drug-like compound can halt brain cell death in mice for the first time, according to a report in The Independent
Although a pill for Alzheimer's remains a long way off, the British study provides a major new pathway for future drug treatments. Scientists say the compound blocks a faulty signal in the brain, which shuts down the production of key proteins, leading to brain cells dying off.
Although it was tested in mice, researchers said the same principles apply to the brains in people with debilitating brain diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.
The study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, was carried out at the Medical Research Council's (MRC) Toxicology Unit at the University of Leicester.
"It's a real step forward," lead researcher Giovanna Mallucci told The Independent. "It's the first time a substance has been given to mice that prevents brain disease. The fact that this is a compound that can be given orally, that gets into the brain and prevents brain disease, is a first in itself…
"We can go forward and develop better molecules and I can't see why preventing this process should only be restricted to mice. I think this probably will translate into other mammalian brains."