London: Scientists in the UK are set to launch the first human trials of a ground-breaking drug shown to repair DNA damage that contributes to Alzheimer’s, the media reported.
The study, also being launched this week in hospitals in France and Spain, will see the neuro-degenerative condition treated with an agent which acts as a DNA repair kit to restore memory and reverse behavioural changes such as aggression and social avoidance, the express.co.uk reported late on Sunday.
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.
The drug also stops inflammation in the brain, a key factor perhaps causing mental decline, the report 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,” Stuart Ratcliffe, chief scientific officer at St Pancras Clinical Research in London, was quoted as saying.
“I believe this is ground-breaking. Neuro-degenerative diseases are a massive problem so heading these off is a holy grail of medicine,” Ratcliffe added.
Tests on mice have shown that one treatment a day can reverse the disease, giving new hope that a cure is on the horizon.
The 26-week human trial, which will include 90 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s, could potentially lead to a “cure” for the disease affecting nearly 50 million people worldwide, the scientists said.
“Alzheimer’s is our biggest killer and is spiralling,” Ratcliffe said.
“It is therefore paramount that new treatments are discovered and developed, otherwise the societal and health care costs of Alzheimer’s alone could bankrupt us,” he added.