Scientists have developed a new way of battling Alzheimer’s.
In research being hailed as a world first, they aim to target toxic particles that trigger the brain disease.
Their work could lead to tests on new drug treatments by 2020.
Experts at Cambridge University and from Sweden have identified these particles as the prime cause of Alzheimer’s and worked out a formula for targeting them.
Until now, drugs have tackled Alzheimer’s symptoms and attempts to discover medicines to prevent or slow it have failed.
But in findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Cambridge researcher Prof Michele Vendruscolo says: “We’ve devised the first strategy to go after the cause. The hope is that new drugs can be developed.”
A healthy brain has a quality control system that gets rid of any excessive amounts of these proteins.
In Alzheimer’s, proteins called oligomers which usually help brain cells to function normally “go rogue” by forming clumps that kill healthy nerve cells.
A separate study, by the University Hospital of Tubingen in Germany, has shown that two and half hours a week of exercise can delay the effects of Alzheimer’s. The brain scores of people who did physical activity like swimming and running for 150 minutes a week performed better.