A turning point in Alzheimer’s has been hailed as a possible breakthrough in the fight against the disease and one that might eventually lead to a cure. Scientists have discovered a possible chemical that might prevent the death of brain tissue, but this is in the early stages. Much more work will be needed to be done before a drug can be developed for patients to be able to take.
The researchers state that a subsequent medicine would end up treating not only Alzheimer’s, but also Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and other neurological diseases.
Tests that were performed on mice showed that brain cell death from various brain diseases were beginning to be prevented.
Professor Roger Morris, of King’s College in London, stated that the findings may be seen in history as a turning point in the exploration for medicines that will aid and even stop Alzheimer’s disease one day.
He explained that although a cure for Alzheimer’s was not about to happen any time soon, he was extremely thrilled about what they had found. This was the very first evidence in any living creature that neurodegeneration can be delayed in the brain. The world will not change overnight, but this study is a landmark case.
The scientific team on the toxicology unit in Europe fixated on the natural defenses which are built into the brain’s cells. When one gets a neurodegenerative disease, the cells of the brain and spinal cord are both lost to the disease because the cells are not simply regenerated. This makes the disease life shattering. The roles of these cells consist of decision making and movement control.
Various forms of neurodegenerative diseases exist, consisting of Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis to list a few.
If a certain virus takes over any brain cell it can lead to a build-up of proteins. The brain cells react by shutting down almost all protein production to stop the spread of the illness.
Yet many neurodegenerative diseases continue the manufacture of defective misfolded proteins. These trigger the same defenses, but cause much more stark consequences.
The misfolded proteins remain and the brain cells stop protein creation for so long of a time that they ultimately end up starving themselves to death.
This progression, which is repeated in neurons all through the brain, can and will destroy movement and memory and might even eventually kill, depending on which disease it happens to be. It is believed to take place in many different ways in neurodegeneration, so safely stopping this might treat a wide variety of diseases.
The researchers decided to try a compound which stopped the brain’s defense mechanisms from starting up and therefore halted the neurodegeneration from ever beginning.
This is still in its very early stages of scientific exploration. A lot might be found to be in error about a drug that was used in a group of mice as it translates to a medication which is made for human beings. But this is the very first time that researchers have ever been able to totally stop neurodegeneration of any kind. This is what makes it so exciting. This shows the work has great potential.
If they can carry on and make a drug for humans, although right now nothing is assured, the rewards would be on a grand and global scale. Researchers are watching how cells interact with the misfolded proteins. That seems to be the key that could mean one drug, one day, might be able to cure many different diseases and that is what is really important here.
The mice did have some side effects. The medication acted on all their pancreases and they came down with mild forms of diabetes and they all ended up losing weight. Therefore, a drug made for humans would have to perform only on the brain. Yet, this has allowed scientists to have somewhere to finally begin. No matter, this Alzheimer’s breakthrough is still a major turning point in hopes of one day reaching a cure.
Written by: Kimberly Ruble