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Trials in the US of the would-be Alzheimer’s drug dimebolin have thrown up a surprise result – that it increases the amount of amyloid protein in the brains of mice.
This runs counter to the aim of most other Alzheimer’s drugs, which is to reduce levels of the protein.
However, because early human trials suggest that dimebolin may have a positive cognitive effect, more research into amyloid protein will now take place.
Says Dr Simon Ridley, research manager of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust: “Dimebolin may turn out to be useful for patients, but we need to find out how it works.
“It’s unexpected that the drug increases levels of amyloid, but there could be a number of explanations for this effect and more research is needed. Further studies will help in the design of new and more effective treatments.
“There are about a dozen drugs in late stage clinical trials we hope that one of them will be successful. Seven hundred thousand people in the UK have dementia, a number expected to double within a generation and we need to put money into research now.”
Copyright Press Association 2009