A drinkable drug could offer hope for people with Alzheimer’s disease after it restored the memories of mice.
Experts now believe they can halt the ‘first step’ in the disease, which may cause people to start forgetting things.
After trawling through more than 12,000 drugs, researchers led by Yale University found one which prevents two proteins combining in the brain.
These proteins, called prions and amyloid, together destroy pathways which allow brain cells to ‘talk’ to each other. Scientists bred mice to have symptoms resembling Alzheimer’s. The rodents’ memories greatly improved after drinking the mixture, managing to find a hidden platform in an underwater maze.
Researchers hope it could be made into a tablet suitable for humans in five to ten years. Stephen Strittmatter, senior author of the study published in the journal Cell Reports, and professor of neuroscience at the Yale Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre, said the drug ‘prevents damage to the connections between the brain cells, and we hope the first human trials could begin in two years’.
Scientists trying to find treatments for Alzheimer’s disease have previously focused on trying to destroy amyloid. The latest attempt focused on stopping amyloid binding to prions.
The two proteins together destroy synapses – or ‘junctions’ between brain cells. But the drug saved 92 per cent of these synapses when added to brain cells in the laboratory.
© Daily Mail