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Could a 'wonder drug' tackle Alzheimer's?

Could a 'wonder drug' tackle Alzheimer's?
1st December 2014

Scientists in the UK believe they have developed a drug that could reduce the devastating effect that Alzheimer's has on the brain.

Experts from the University of Huddersfield devised a treatment method that can penetrate the blood-brain barrier, which has traditionally been a tricky obstacle to overcome.

This is why so many attempts to create cures for the neurodegenerative disorder have been unsuccessful in the past, because they haven't been able to gain access to the brain.

However, researchers found that ethane-beta-sultam could penetrate this barrier and pave the way for new treatment methods. 

In tests on rats, the scientists discovered there was a reduction in the loss of brain cells and inflammation in those who had doses of ethane-beta-sultam. 

Lead author Professor Page and his research team had been working for ten years on this development. The next steps are to identify a compound that is more effective than ethane-beta-sultam. 

As well as being a potential weapon in the fight against dementia, it's believed this treatment method could tackle the detrimental effect caused by binge drinking. 

The full findings of this research can be viewed in the journal of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. 

Recently, a team of scientists in San Francisco reported a similar breakthrough, when they announced they were working on a weekly injection that could combat the disease.

They worked out how to attach antibodies to transferrin - a substance that is present in the body and helps to transfer materials through the blood-brain barrier. These antibodies can prevent the buildup of amyloid-beta plaques, which are commonly thought to be a hallmark of the condition. 

Lead author Joy Yu said: "If this technique proves successful in humans, patients could receive weekly subcutaneous or monthly intravenous injections to keep neurological diseases at bay."

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes