A new way of delivering drugs to the brain could lead to new treatments for people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, motor neurone disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Researchers at the University of Oxford found that exosomes, which are tiny particles released by cells, could be used to penetrate the blood-brain barrier to deliver drugs into the brain.
The procedure was also found to reduce the production of enzyme BACE1 - which is believed to aid the product of plaques seen in Alzheimer's disease.
Designed to protect the brain from toxic chemicals, the blood-brain barrier makes it difficult for drugs to reach the cells they need to.
"If this delivery method proves safe in humans, then we may see more effective drugs being made available for people with Alzheimer's in the future," commented Dr Susanne Sorensen of the Alzheimer's Society.
People with Alzheimer's could soon have a highly personalised prognosis of their condition, after research published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease identified a biomarker that could be used to track its progress.