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Irish research may lead to Alzheimer's breakthrough

Irish scientists believe they have made a breakthrough in developing drugs to help block the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer's: brain-wasting disease
Alzheimer's: brain-wasting disease
Image: Creative Commons

IRISH SCIENTISTS believe they have made a breakthrough in developing drugs to help block the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, which affects thousands of people in Ireland.

The research, jointly funded by Irish and British agencies, centred on two antibodies which already have a role in preventing causes of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD), the human form of mad cow disease.

The study involving scientists from UCD and Trinity College, used mice to show that these antibodies can also potentially block damaging effects on brain tissue such as those caused by Alzheimer’s.

Prof John Collinge, who led the research, said: “This discovery shows in mice that these two antibodies which we are developing to treat CJD may also have a role in treating more common forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease. If these antibody drugs prove to be safe in use to treat CJD we will consider whether studies in Alzheimer’s disease should be carried out.”

He added: “With an ageing population and increasing numbers of families affected by Alzheimer’s disease, there is an urgent need for new drugs which will help … to prevent the devastating impact of Alzheimer’s.”

The research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) and carried at University College London in collaboration with experts from UCD and and Trinity College.

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