A HEART drug could help halt the devastating advance of Alzheimer?셲, a study suggests.
Experts discovered the treatment ??originally developed for heart failure and kidney disease – restored brain function in sick mice.
Scientists said the findings were ?쐖ery optimistic??and called for immediate human trials.
Tests were carried out on mice with brain damage caused by a build of sticky tau proteins – one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer?셲.
Rodents given the heart drug rolofylline saw their memory and brain power significantly improve.
It costs around 짙2 a day.
Around 850,000 Brits have dementia ??and there is currently no effective treatment.
Lead researcher Dr Frank Dennissen, from the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Disease, said the results were ?쐆ighly promising??
He said: ?쏷he Tau protein is like having a wall in your house that is blocking your wifi signal. This drug seems to work by boosting that signal and re-establishing a connection between the brain cells.
?쏧t?셲 safe ??and it is a new mechanism that has never been tested before.
?쏧n animal models it worked like a charm, and it would be very worthwhile to test in human patients. We need to start trials as soon as possible.??/p>
If effective, the therapy could also help patients with other brain disorder such as Parkinson?셲.
The study, published in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at mice with memory problems over a two-week period.
The German team found the drug restored brain function by boosting signalling between nerve cells.
Until now, research has mainly focused on trying to stop the build-up the damaging proteins.
Brit experts welcomed the findings.
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Dr James Pickett, from the Alzheimer?셲 Society, said: ?쏷angles of tau protein build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer?셲 disease and some other forms of dementia, preventing brain cells from communicating with one another.
?쏳olofylline aims to balance out the damaging effect of tau and boost brain cell function.
?쏦owever, it?셲 still early days for this drug ??the study was in mice which didn?셳 have all the hallmarks of Alzheimer?셲, making it extremely difficult to predict if and how it would work for people with the disease.??/p>
And Dr Rosa Sancho, from Alzheimer?셲 Research UK, said: ?쏷his new study reveals the clumping together of tau protein reduces the transmission of information between nerve cells in mice with features of Alzheimer?셲, and that a drug called rolofylline restores this communication.
?쏝ut this is very early research and further studies are required before rolofylline can be safely trialed in people with Alzheimer?셲 disease.??/p>