Pill for Alzheimer’s May Slow/Stop Disease

It worked in the lab.

A British study shows that a pill for Alzheimer’s could treat the disease by halting the death of neurons. However it could be a decade or more before any medicine is developed.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) team focused on abnormally shaped proteins that stick together in clumps and fibers and can trigger a reaction that results in the death of nerve cells.

Using a drug injected into the stomachs of mice, they flipped a cellular switch from off to on to prevent neurons dying. Five weeks after treatment, one group of mice remained free of symptoms such as memory loss, impaired reflexes or limb dragging.åÊ

The mice suffered serious side effects, including weight loss and raised blood sugar, and the scientists say human trials are a long way off.

But they also believe the research demonstrates in principle the possibility of developing a pill that can protect the brain from neuro-degenerative disease.

The experimental drug, known as GSK2606414, is made by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline. It targets an enzyme called PERK which plays a key role in the response of neurons to the build-up of misfolded proteins in the brain.

If nothing else, I guess there is the security in knowing that many researchers are working on a cure for Alzheimer’s and the hope would be it could happen in our lifetimes.

Source: The Guardian