Existing drugs could treat Alzheimer’s

Two licensed drugs that are already on the market and used for other ailments may be used to treat Alzheimer’s Disease. 

The Guardian has reported that the drugs were hailed as “hugely promising” at the annual research conference of the Alzheimer’s Society, held at Manchester this week.

The scientists have chosen not to name the drugs until after clinical trials have been done to prevent patients taking the drugs before they have been declared an effective Alzheimer’s treatment.

The findings arose after a 2013 study that showed brain death in mice could be stopped by switching off a faulty signal in the brain that stops new proteins being produced. The proteins, known as plaques, are the most visible sign in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. Since then researchers have been searching for safe drugs that could have the same effect on the human brain.

But scientists said that before a human trial could take place a brain imaging study must be done to confirm that the same faulty signal the drugs target in mice is responsible for the devastating symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in the human brain.

Giovanna Mallucci, a Cambridge neuroscientist who gave the presentation at the conference, said if the scanning experiments are done shortly and confirm the link as expected, clinical trials of the drugs could take place in a couple of years.

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