Scientists from University of Glasgow and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have discovered what could be an enormous breakthrough for those suffering from Alzheimer's.
The researchers, co-led by Professor Eddy Liew, found that daily injections of a protein called IL-33 reversed cognitive decline in mice in just one week. The mice, referred to as APP/PS1 mice, were bred to develop Alzheimer's-like symptoms as they aged. But scientists observed that the animals were essentially back to being normal mice in a matter of days after receiving the injection.
The IL-33 protein is a form of protein that humans already create. "It's produced by various cell types in the body and is particularly abundant in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord)," says Liew.
In addition to restoring cognitive health, the protein also prevented further growth of toxic amyloid plaques in the brain. "The hallmarks of Alzheimer's include the presence of extracellular amyloid plaque deposits and the formation of neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. During the course of the disease, 'plaques' and 'tangles' build up, leading to the loss of connections between nerve cells, and eventually to nerve cell death and loss of brain tissue." explains Medical Xpress.
By preventing the growth of the plaques, the injection seems to stop the disease from coming back. As groundbreaking as this research could be for millions of families, for now it only applies to the APP/PS1 mice, with a possibility of human trials in the future. "Alzheimer's disease currently has an urgent unmet clinical need. We hope that our findings can eventually be translated into humans," says Liew.
Researchers also suggest viewing these results with cautious optimism. "There have been enough false 'breakthroughs' in the medical field to caution us not to hold our breath until rigorous clinical trials have been done."
Still, being that there's no effective form of cure or treatment for the disease available, such a development is promising. Researchers are now testing the toxicity levels of the protein doses used, which even the professor admits, is a "good start" in making strides against Alzheimer's.
Follow Landcruisers on Instagram.