Treating Alzheimer's Disease - now and the future

Treating Human Neurodegenerative Disorders - such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

British scientists have paved the way for a drug that can cure Alzheimer’s disease after using a drug-like compound to halt the death of brain cells in mice. The compound works by interrupting a faulty signal in the brain that shuts down the production of essential proteins leading to brain cells being unprotected and dying off. It was tested in mice with prion disease - the best animal model of human neurodegenerative disorders - but scientists said they were confident the same principles would apply in a human brain with debilitating brain diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.

The study, published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine, was carried out at the Medical Research Council's (MRC) Toxicology Unit at the University of Leicester under team leader Professor Giovanna Mallucci.

Professor Roger Morris, acting head of King's College London's Department of Chemistry, commenting on this discovery said: “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.

 “From finding the first effective drug in a mouse, to having an effective medicine in man, usually takes decades to bring to fruition, in the very few cases in which it is successful. So, a cure for Alzheimer's is not just around the corner. However, the critical point of principle made by Professor Mallucci's study is that a drug, given orally, can arrest neurodegeneration caused by amyloid in the brain.  This finding, I suspect, will be judged by history as a turning point in the search for medicines to control and prevent Alzheimer's disease.”

As a drug that can guard against Alzheimer’s is still a long way off what fresh hope is there for sufferers of the condition today and in the near future?

Experts in the disease will be discussing current advances in the detection and treatment of Alzheimer’s this evening in London. A presentation hosted by Re: Cognition Health and TauRx Therapeutics, will discuss a new drug, LMTX™, which has been developed for mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. LMTX™ isin global phase 3 trials and is believed to be the most advanced tau Aggregation Inhibitor currently undergoing clinical trials. It is believed that tau proteins, which are abundant in the neurons of the Central Nervous System, play a central role in a number of degenerative diseases.

Microtubule-associated protein tau

TauRx Therapeutics, a spin-out company from the University of Aberdeen, UK, was established with the aim of developing new treatments and diagnostics for a range of neurodegenerative diseases.

Re:Cognition Health is a unique multi-disciplinary group of over 50 clinicians, focused on assessing, diagnosing, treating, managing and supporting individuals with a cognitive problem. Services are brought together into integrated pathways that are tailored to the individual patient, their circumstances, and their family. From assessment and diagnosis, to treatment, specialist nursing and psychological support, rehabilitation, life planning, and cognitive stimulation, the team is able to provide a comprehensive package including opportunities to participate in clinical trials for new medicines.

A compound similar to starch, which can build up abnormally in the tissues in a condition called amyloidosis. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of all living organisms. Full medical glossary
The process of determining which condition a patient may have. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of genetic material carried on chromosomes. Full medical glossary
An animal or plant that supports a parasite. Full medical glossary
Nerve cell. Full medical glossary
Continuously increasing in extent or severity. Full medical glossary
Compounds that form the structure of muscles and other tissues in the body, as well as comprising enzymes and hormones. Full medical glossary
The treatment of a person with an illness or disability to improve their function and health. Full medical glossary