Alzheimer's brain plaques cleared in mice10th February 2012
Alzheimer’s charities have welcomed new research that may lead to a “potential new way to treat” the disease.
US Researchers testing a cancer drug on mice found that signs that it could potentially clear destructive plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.
The study, published in the journal Science, reported the plaques were broken down and showed an improvement in some brain function.
Alzheimer’s Society research manager Dr Anne Corbett said: “This exciting study could be the beginning of a journey towards a potential new way to treat Alzheimer's disease.
“However, this is very early days. People with Alzheimer's should not rush to get this drug, as we need much more research to establish if it has benefits for humans.”
Alzheimer’s Research UK said the findings were “promising” and head of research Dr Simon Ridley said: “There are a number of drugs in development that aim to clear amyloid from the brain, and the jury is still out on whether this approach will be successful as a treatment for Alzheimer's.”
Scientists at the Case Western Reserve University in Ohio were carrying out tests on bexarotene - which has been approved for use to treat cancers in the skin - on mice with an illness similar to Alzheimer’s.
After one dose in young mice, the levels of beta-amyloid in the brain were "rapidly lowered" within six hours and a 25% reduction was sustained for 70 hours.
While the cause of Alzheimer's remains unknown, one theory involves the formation of clumps of a protein called beta-amyloid.
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