'Promising' pill for Alzheimer's

Researchers at the University of Leicester have raised the potential for a pill that could treat degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's by halting the death of neurons.

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Charity gives Alzheimer's research a cautious welcome

A charity has given a cautious welcome to the development of a 'promising' potential treatment for degenerative brain diseases, developed by a team at the University of Leicester.

An expert from the Alzheimer's Society said while the possibilities were exciting, there is still a "long way" to go before a drug suitable for use by humans will be produced.

This is a promising development as it shows this biological pathway is a potential target for new treatments.

However, it is important to note that this study was carried out on mice with prion disease and so it is not clear how applicable it is to humans with diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

What we need now is further research into potential drugs which can target the same pathway.

Whilst the ability to stop neurodegeneration in its tracks would be hugely exciting, we are still a long way from seeing a drug which is suitable for human use.

– Dr Clare Walton, research communications manager, Alzeihmer's Society

Alzheimer's research is 'historic turning point'

An experimental drug shown to help treat degenerative diseases such as Alzeimer's and Parkinson's by preventing the death of brain neurons will be seen as a 'turning point' in medical history, experts claim.

The study, by the Medical Research Council's toxicology unit at the University of Leicester, saw the drug injected into the stomachs of mice to "flip" a cellular switch from 'off' to 'on', preventing the neurons from dying.

The findings have been welcomed by other experts in the field.

This is the first convincing report that a small drug, of the type most conveniently turned into medicines, stops the progressive death of neurons in the brain as found, for instance, in Alzheimer's disease.

This finding, I suspect, will be judged by history as a turning point in the search for medicines to control and prevent Alzheimer's.

– Prof Roger Morris, King's College London

Leicester study raises prospect of treating Alzheimer's

A landmark study by experts at the University of Leicester has raised the prospect of a pill that can treat brain diseases such as Alzheimer's by halting the death of neurons.

The pills could be available within 10 years
The pills could be available within 10 years Credit: Matthias Hiekel/DPA/Press Association Images

The research, performed on sick mice, is at a very early stage and currently the compound has "harmful" side effects, but experts say it provides the "real possibility" of developing a medicine in future.

It could be a decade or more before any such medicine suitable for human patients is developed.