Researchers in the U.K. will soon begin testing a drug that they say may be the breakthrough for Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia that the world awaits. The drug, Liraglutide, is already on the market as a treatment for diabetes.
The Imperial College London and the Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge are partnering on the research and are looking for volunteers with early onset dementia to partake in a study of Liraglutide. They will need to recruit 200 people of both sexes in their 50s who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The trial will last one year and brain testing is involved.
“We’re hoping this will improve the memory function in people and their quality of life,” Dr Paul Edison, lead author of the study, told media. “We’re hoping we will be able to delay the progression of the disease.”
The drug increases the production of insulin — hence its use in diabetes — and researchers say the increase in insulin helps to not only protect the brain but repair neurons which have a build-up of amyloid beta plaques, which causes Alzheimer’s. The drug is able to do this because, unlike other drugs, it can pass through the blood-brain barrier.
Lancaster University tested Liraglutide on mice who’d been given dementia and published the results in 2013. That research, lead by Prof. Christian Hölscher, found a daily dose reduced the amyloid plaque build-up in their brains. As a result the memories of the mice improved.