Scientists at University College London, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin investigated two antibodies that target a protein called prion, which is implicated in the development of CJD.
The research also suggests the antibodies can stop prion from interacting with amyloid – a hallmark protein that builds and becomes toxic in Alzheimer’s disease. Their findings, which are published in Nature Communications today, showed that in mice, the antibodies prevented amyloid’s harmful effects in the brain.
Clinical trials to see whether the drugs could help treat CJD are due to start next year. The researchers hope the drugs could also be tested as a treatment for Alzheimer’s in future.
Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“This promising study builds on previous research suggesting that amyloid interacts with prion before inflicting its damage on the brain. However, we need to further explore this interaction and see results from trials before we can know whether these antibodies could have a beneficial effect for people with Alzheimer’s.
“Dementia can only be defeated through research, yet funding still lags far behind other diseases. We need to see many more treatments being tested to give us the best possible chance of defeating dementia, which means we must invest in research.”
Alzheimer’s Research UK