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Drug 'reverses Alzheimer's effect'

2nd March 2006

Scientists believe they may have found a compound that appears to block the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers in Irvine University in California have discovered that the new compound may relieve the symptoms of Alzheimer's, as well as blocking two types of brain lesions that are hallmarks of the disease.

A team of researchers led by Frank LaFerla, professor of neurobiology and behaviour at the university, found that a compound known as AF267B reduced plaque lesions in the brain associated with learning and memory.

"AF267B could be a tremendous step forward in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease," said Mr LaFerla.

The drug works mimicking the effects of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a chemical in the brain that is vital to memory and learning.

He went on to say that although the exact effect that the compound will have is yet undetermined, the team is "very excited" by the results the study has produced.

Pharmaceutical companies are now conducting clinical studies to determine whether the compound is safe for use. Early tests indicate that the drug will be well tolerated.

The Alzheimer's Society predicts that there are currently over 750,000 people in the UK suffering with dementia.