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A drug originally intended as a treatment for type 2 diabetes could also have significant benefits for patients with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, recent research has revealed.
According to a study carried out by scientists based at Lancaster University, a triple receptor drug featuring a combination of GLP-1, GIP and Glucagon has shown promise in helping to reverse Alzheimer's-related memory loss in mice, leading the researchers to believe that the same effects may be possible in humans.
The mice had their memories tested in a maze environment and were found to remember their way around it better after taking the combination drug for a period of time.
It was also found that taking the type 2 diabetes drug helped to fuel brain growth, protecting the function of the organ's nerve cells, while also reducing the level of amyloid plaques relating to Alzheimer's in the brain.
In addition, the drug reduced chronic inflammation, oxidative stress and the rate of nerve cell loss in the brain.
This discovery therefore opens up exciting new opportunities for Alzheimer's drug discovery, as existing treatments for other diseases could have significant benefits for patients with this form of dementia.
What's more, type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, so there is a possibility that taking the drug could help to prevent the onset of the degenerative condition in the first place.
Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer's Society, commented: "With no new treatments in nearly 15 years, we need to find new ways of tackling Alzheimer's.
"It's imperative that we explore whether drugs developed to treat other conditions can benefit people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. This approach to research could make it much quicker to get promising new drugs."
He added that other diabetes drugs including liraglutide have also shown promise in treating patients with Alzheimer's, providing scientists with a whole new area of research to explore.
Written by James Puckle
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