Alzheimer's development a turning point for sufferers
SIGNIFICANT developments in the fight against Alzheimer's have been hailed as a turning point in the search for a treatment for the crippling condition.
Scientists have been searching for ways to halt the process of brain cell death and have found success in a trial on mice at the University of Leicester.
The breakthrough has been welcomed in Gloucester.
Dr Martin Ansell, clinical director at the 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, said: "I very much welcome the ongoing potential that this research offers and the new pathways of investigation that may lead to a future cure.
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"Until then, many people continue to live well with Alzheimer's and we encourage anyone who is worried about their own or someone else's memory to get in touch with our service or speak with their GP."
Thunderbird creator Gerry Anderson was hit hard by Alzheimer's. Since his death last year his son Jamie, who lives near Dursley, has campaigned to raise the profile of the condition.
"The first thing you notice about Alzheimer's is that someone begins to age very quickly," he said.
"When you realise that it is not part of the normal ageing process, that is when it becomes more serious.
"There are treatments available now that slow down the effects of Alzheimer's, but only work in around 60 per cent of people.
"Even with this development, I still think we could be 10 years away from any kind of worthwhile medication."
Although experts have been quick to suggest a cure is not imminent, they remain positive about future research leading to successful drug development.
The resulting medicine could treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's disease and other conditions.
Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer's Society, said: "This is a promising development as it shows this biological pathway is a potential target for new treatments. However, it is not clear how applicable it is to humans with diseases such as Alzheimer's.
"What we need now is further research into potential drugs which can target the same pathway. While the ability to stop neurodegeneration in its tracks would be hugely exciting, we are still a long way from seeing a drug which is suitable for human use."
To contact the 2gether Trust's Managing Memory service call 0800 694 8800.