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A new drug developed at Lancaster University, which may help to prevent the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, is set to enter clinical trials.
In laboratory tests, the drug, developed by David Allsop, Professor of Neuroscience, and Dr Mark Taylor, from the Faculty of Health and Medicine, reduces the number of senile plaques and the amount of brain inflammation and oxidative damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
The University has filed a patent application for the drug and it will be progressing into clinical trials run by MAC Clinical Research, a research company based in the north-west. If the drug passes the regulatory hurdles, the final goal is to give it to people with mild symptoms of memory loss.
Allsop said: “It is encouraging that our drug is being taken forward and will be tested on humans.
“Many people who are mildly forgetful may go on to develop the disease because senile plaques start forming years before any symptoms manifest themselves. The ultimate aim is to give the drug at that stage, to stop any more damage to the brain.”
Speaking about the development, Chief Operating Officer of MAC Clinical Research, Dr Steve Higham, said: “Preventing Alzheimer’s disease progression remains a critical unmet need for millions of people worldwide. With that in mind we are very pleased to begin this exciting partnership with Professor David Allsop, his team and Lancaster University.”
Allsop also said: “I hope that my research will make a significant contribution towards benefitting the lives of the many people affected by the disease. We must understand where the Alzheimer’s protein (beta-amyloid) comes from and in what form it is able to damage the brain, and how we can prevent this damage from happening (or even reverse it). Ultimately, this knowledge will hopefully lead to a cure for this devastating disease.”
Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, the group funding the research, said: “There’s a tremendous need for new treatments that can stop the development of dementia in its tracks. Trials in people are an essential step in the development of any new drug so it’s really positive to see this promising research being taken forward.”
He also said: “Alzheimer’s Society will continue to fund drug development research like this to ensure the best new treatments reach the people who desperately need them as soon as possible.”