Scientists hope they have found a drug to stop all neurodegenerative brain diseases, including dementia.
In 2013, a UK Medical Research Council team stopped brain cells dying in an animal for the first time, creating headline news around the world.
But the compound used was unsuitable for people, as it caused organ damage.
Now two drugs have been found that should have the same protective effect on the brain and are already safely used in people.
“It’s really exciting,” said Prof Giovanna Mallucci, from the MRC Toxicology Unit in Leicester.
She wants to start human clinical trials on dementia patients soon and expects to know whether the drugs work within two to three years.
Why might they work?
The novel approach is focused on the natural defence mechanisms built into brain cells.
When a virus hijacks a brain cell it leads to a build-up of viral proteins.
Cells respond by shutting down nearly all protein production …
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