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Leukaemia drug 'could fight Alzheimer's'

Leukaemia drug 'could fight Alzheimer's'
3rd November 2014

A drug that is commonly used to treat leukaemia could be of assistance in the battle against Alzheimer's. 

Scientists from the Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington uncovered that, contrary to common belief, the condition is not caused by a buildup of plaque - but in fact through a different one called tau.

This protein brings about the destruction of neurons in the brain, which in turn leads to the onset of the condition.

Because of this discovery, experts believe the drug nilotinib - which is currently used to treat leukaemia - could be effective in tackling the degenerative disease.

When tau does not function as it should, cells are not able to remove the waste material, leading to cell death. Nilotinib helps to remove this buildup, heightening the chances of survival. 

However, there needs to be some tau proteins that are working in the way they should for the best chance of success, according to lead researcher Dr Charbel Moussa.

The full findings of this research can be viewed in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration.

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