Scientists believe they have made advancements in research on Alzheimer’s disease. They have developed a drug that will target toxic particles believed to be the root cause of the disease.
According to scientists in the UK and Sweden, these particles cause Alzheimer’s, a neurological condition that leads to premature senility.
Professor Michele Vendruscolo, the lead researcher for a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), believes this discovery is a world first. He said that this is the first time the cause of this disease has been proposed.
The drug the scientists have developed is still in the testing stage. “We’ve devised the first strategy to go after the cause,” he said. “The hope is that new drugs can be developed.”
Before this, scientists weren’t able to make drugs to delay or prevent Alzheimer’s. The drugs available can only tackle its symptoms.
In Alzheimer’s, proteins called oligomers can clump together and damage the brain. Over a period of time, the brain begins to shrink, causing symptoms such as memory loss and confusion. The new drugs, which still need to be tested, could reduce the number of oligomers which damage brain cells.
Apart from this, antibodies are being tested by scientists to target oligomers in human clinical trials.
James Hendrix, director of Global Science Initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association, said that it’s not completely confirmed yet if oligomers are the true cause of Alzheimer’s.
“The length of time it takes for us to know whether an experimental Alzheimer’s drug can actually work in people from start to finish is more like 10 years,” Hendrix told Gizmodo.
According to the Australian National University, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.