The scientists found a drug which might prevent memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – A group of experts from the University of Glasgow has discovered a new Alzheimer’s treatment which can slow the progression of this disease in mice. During the latest study, this new class of drug proved to be so effective that it restored memory and extended life in mice.
This groundbreaking discovery might save the lives of many Americans in the future. The specialists at the Alzheimer’s Association say that roughly 47 million people in the world have been diagnosed with this disease until now.
This degenerative brain disorder cannot be cured, and it leads to the most severe form of dementia in its advanced stages. Fortunately, the drug, known as allosteric ligands, seem to target a protein related to memory.
When the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient deteriorates, the protein situated in the hippocampus loses its function. After using this experimental drug on mice, the researchers observed that the M1 muscarinic receptor activated, thus improving memory.
According to Andrew Tobin, the lead author of the study and a professor of molecular biology, the drug had another beneficial effect on the mice as it extended their lives. Although the scientists were more than happy to see such an outcome, they couldn’t explain how the drug had such a positive side-effect.
Tobin says that besides activating the protein related to memory, this experimental drug triggers an unknown mechanism in the brain which seems to protect the neurons from degeneration. In other words, it is the first potential Alzheimer’s treatment.
The researchers will continue their investigation to discover this biochemical mechanism. The current Alzheimer’s treatments can only alleviate the common symptoms, whereas the experimental drug is much closer to a cure.
During the study, the mice were bred to experience symptoms of mad cow disease because they are similar to the ones showed by Alzheimer’s patients. The scientists conducted a memory test on the mice to see whether the drug was effective.
As it turned out, the untreated specimens couldn’t remember receiving an electric shock, whereas the treated ones recalled the mild stimulus. Tobin underlines that it will take at least five to ten years to develop an Alzheimer’s treatment which will be effective in humans. So even if the experimental drug had fantastic results, it still cannot be considered an immediate Alzheimer’s cure.