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Alzheimer's drug breakthrough

19th April 2006

Researchers in the US claim to be on the brink of developing a disease-modifying drug for Alzheimer's.

Scientists from the University of California Irvine have found that AF267B decreases tangles and plaques in the brains of mice suffering from the symptoms of Alzheimer's.

By reducing the plaques and tangles, many researchers believe that memory and learning in Alzheimer's patients can be improved.

If the findings transfer themselves to humans, it will be the first time that a drug has been able to decrease the beta-amyloid protein lesions that are believed to cause the disease.

Abraham Fisher of the Israel Institute for Biological Research, which designed AF267B, commented: "AF267B is highly selective, orally available, penetrates the blood-brain barrier and has a wide safety margin."

Karen Horsburgh from Edinburgh's Centre for Neuroscience Research said the findings were "very exciting" but insisted that further studies have to be conducted to see if the reductions can be sustained over a long period.