Diabetes drug may "restore memory" in Alzheimer's patients

Diabetes drug may "restore memory" in Alzheimer's patients

Scientists in Canada have revealed that a treatment intended for diabetes patients could be used to reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease.

A team from the University of Alberta discovered that there is a protein in the pancreas of diabetic patients that has the same degenerative effect on cells as the amyloid protein found in the brain cells of Alzheimer's patients, which severely affects memory.

Led by Dr Jack Jhamandas, the team have published their findings in the latest edition of The Journal of Neuroscience. The research indicates that a drug originally intended to treat diabetes, known as AC253, has the same effect on the amyloid protein as it does on the sister protein in the pancreas.

The team took animal cells containing Alzheimer's and some with normal brain function, treating those affected by the cognitive disease with AC253. They found that, when tested for 'memory' using electrical impulses, the treated Alzheimer's tissues performed equally as well as those without the condition.

Dr Jhamandas said: "This is very important because it tells us that drugs like this might be able to restore memory, even after Alzheimer’s disease may have set in."

Further studies are now intended but Dr Jhamandas believes that if those are successful, clinical trials could commence within five years.

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