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Could an oral drug be effective for Alzheimer's?

Could an oral drug be effective for Alzheimer's?
24th July 2014

Scientists believe an oral drug could be a good way to help to fight against Alzheimer's disease. 

This method of treatment is believed to help stabilise microtubules in the brain, which have a crucial role to play in the wellbeing of the body, as they are responsible for growth and division. Furthermore, in the brain they are used to carry molecules or nutrients around. 

For those whose microtubules do not function as they should because they are not stabilised by a protein called tau, this brings about memory loss, dementia and eventually the death of nerve cells.

It is believed that an oral drug could be used to combat this problem, as it contains agents that have the capability to stabilise microtubules.

Such agents have had positive results on mice who had an Alzheimer's model in the past, as it transpired their cognitive abilities improved, while the rate of nerve cell loss fell. 

Up until this point, scientists had encountered problems because these agents had to be injected, which was a painful process. 

In this study - which is published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Medicinal Chemistry - these compounds were injected orally into mice and when the drugs reached the brain, they stabilised molecules in the creatures' brains. 

Such a discovery has led researchers to believe this could be an effective method of treatment for tackling Alzheimer's and other similar conditions in the future. 

New avenues of treatments are desperately needed for the degenerative condition, as there is currently no cure available for individuals. 

Prime minister David Cameron recently announced that significantly more money would be spent on research, as he described this form of cognitive decline as one of the "greatest enemies" that humanity is currently facing. 

While 800,000 people currently have dementia, the number of diagnoses is expected to rise dramatically over the coming years. 

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.