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10th October 2013

Alzheimer's research breakthrough hailed a 'turning point'

Scientists working at the University of Leicester have found a chemical that prevents the death of brain tissue in mice - a breakthrough that has been hailed by scientists as a 'turning point' in Alzheimer's research.

More work is needed to develop a drug that could be taken by people but scientists say the research could be potentially very important in halting the brain degeneration associated with conditions including Parkinson's and Huntington's as well as Alzheimer's.

The scientists who made the discovery were working at the Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit based at the University of Leicester. Their research was published in Science Translational Medicine

Research shows chemical halts neurodegeneration in mice

The scientists' research showed mice with prion (degenerative brain) disease developed severe memory and movement problems and died within 12 weeks.

However, those given the chemical compound in question showed no sign of brain tissue wasting away.

Lead researcher Prof Giovanna Mallucci told the BBC news website: "They were absolutely fine, it was extraordinary.

"What's really exciting is a compound has completely prevented neurodegeneration and that's a first.

"This isn't the compound you would use in people, but it means we can do it and it's a start."


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