Neuro-degenerative diseases are a massive problem so heading these off is a holy grail of medicine
The research, described by scientists as “remarkable”, has been tested on mice, where it has been shown that one treatment a day can reverse the disease- giving new hope a cure is on the horizon.
The 26-week study, which will include 90 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s, will be rolled out into further trials, which will assess memory and behavioural changes in people on the compound, compared with a group on placebo pills.
The drug, known as ORY-2001, contains a small molecule which inhibits two enzymes in the brain, LSD1 and MAOB, which are responsible for promoting DNA damage and inhibiting repair.
By blocking their action, the new drug repairs and prevents further damage.
This stops inflammation in the brain, a key factor perhaps causing and the contributing to mental decline.
Dr Stuart Ratcliffe, chief scientific officer at London clinical trial organisation St Pancras Clinical Research and leading expert in memory disorders, said: “ Curing Alzheimer’s is now on the horizon.
“The mechanism of this drug may lead to treatments that protect genetic material from the influences of ageing.
“I believe this is ground-breaking.
The ground-breaking drug is shown to repair DNA damage that contributes to Alzheimer’s disease
The drug also stops inflammation in the brain, a key factor perhaps causing mental decline
“Neuro-degenerative diseases are a massive problem so heading these off is a holy grail of medicine.”
Dr Ratcliffe, who is currently helping to recruit UK patients, added: “I am more confident with this than any other previous study into this devastating disease, as this is a completely new approach targeting the cause rather than simply what are now believed to be manifestations of Alzheimer’s.”
Leading neuro-radiologist Dr Emer MacSweeney, CEO and medical director of Re:Cognition Health, which will be running trials at its four UK centres, said: “This id a game-changing, novel approach which could benefit people with Alzheimer’s and any neuro-degenerative disease.
“Instead of working on the pathology of Alzheimer’s specifically, it is designed to repair damage to the genes that influence how nerves are going to behave.
“It is very exciting.”
The trials are being led by Harald Hampel, a professor at Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of Munich, and have been developed by drug company Oryzon.
Orison has also had positive laboratory research results in using the drug to treat multiple sclerosis patients after the therapy was found to regenerate damaged nerve sheaths, the cause of MS.
Dr Ratcliffe said: “Alzheimer’s is our biggest killer and is spiralling.
“It is therefore paramount new treatments are discovered and developed, otherwise the societal and health care costs of Alzheimer’s alone could bankrupt us.”
Alzheimer’s and other dementia are the leading cause of death in Britain.
The number of sufferers is set to double every 20 years.