Researchers from the University of Lancaster have developed a drug that may be able stop the progression of Alzheimer's disease before it can cause serious damage.
Scientists have long believed the condition is caused by amyloid plaques in the brain and the team's trials of the drug on mice have demonstrated a capacity to reduce their number by one third.
Professor David Allsopp, who led the research, said the team are unsure as to the optimal amount of the drug and are hopeful the amount of plaques could be lowered further by administering a higher dosage.
It is thought that reducing the number of amyloid plaques will slow or even prevent development of the disease.
"Many people who are mildly forgetful may go on to develop the disease because these senile plaques start forming years before any symptoms manifest themselves," Prof Allsopp explained.
Despite the encouraging results, development of the drug is still in the very early stages. The study was funded by Alzheimer's Research UK and its director of research Dr Eric Karran warned several years of further investigation is needed.
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