“Turning Point” In Brain Disease Treatment

A new discovery in the treatment of degenerative nerve cell disease has been characterized as a “turning point” in the fight against diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

In tests on laboratory mice, deaths from what is known as prion disease was completely prevented leading Professor Robert Morris from King’s College, London to say that it represents a momentous milestone in the treatment and possible prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

The newly developed compound inhibits a cell’s incorrectly activated defense mechanisms that would otherwise shut down certain protein production activity ultimately killing the nerve cell.

Published in Science Translational Medicine (www.sciencemag.org), the study showed that mice with this type of prion disease developed severe memory and movement problems and died within 12 weeks. But when the mice were given the compound, there was no sign of brain tissue wasting away and they survived.

Much more work needs to be done. There are side effects that include pancreatic involvement such that it triggered a mild diabetic reaction and associated weight loss. Professor Morris cautioned that a cure for Alzheimer’s was not, “imminent” but if the study results are validated by additional research, it certainly gives a renewed sense of optimism that treatment for nerve disease may be entering a brand new and exciting world of possibilities.

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