What’s exciting is the emergence of a common mechanism of brain cell death, across a range of different neurodegenerative disorders
The command makes mice suffering an incurable brain disease live longer.
It’s the first time scientists have understood what makes neurons ‘die’ – and is described as a ‘major breakthrough’.
Having found the pathway, the scientists then worked out how to block it, and were able to prevent brain cells from dying, helping the mice live longer.
They also suspect that there is a common mechanism by which brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and CJD damage the nerve cells – and that it can perhaps be blocked in the same way.
Eric Karran, director of research at the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, said while the research was still at an early stage, the results were exciting.
‘While neurodegenerative diseases can have many different triggers, this study suggests that they may act through a common mechanism to damage nerve cells. The findings present the appealing concept that one treatment could have benefits for a range of different diseases,’ he said.
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