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Clinical trial for diabetes drug: can it reverse Alzheimer’s?

Memory loss and the formation of neuritic plaques in Alzheimer’s patients could be reversed by a common drug currently prescribed for diabetes patients, research funded by the Alzheimer’s Society has found.

The drug, Liraglutide, stimulates insulin production in people with diabetes, but the results of this ground-breaking study have shown it can also enter into the brain and provide a protective barrier for the cells there. This effect could work even on late-stage Alzhemier’s patients. In the study, conducted at Lancaster University, mice with late-stage Alzheimer’s that were given the drug performed significantly better at object recognition. Plaque-build up in their brains had been reduced by 30%.

Another study by the Alzheimer’s Society had already demonstrated the ability of the drug to help treat those in the early stages of the condition. A major clinical trial will now be launched at Imperial College London that will run tests to see if the drug is effective in human patients. Recruitment for participants in the trial will begin in the next few weeks.

If the trials prove successful, this drug will be the first new Alzheimer’s drug in decades to become commercially available.