A new study has successfully reversed Alzheimer’s disease in mice, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic say.
Scientists released their findings in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, saying the deletion of a single enzyme led to almost total reversal of plaque in the brains of mice with Alzheimer’s, which in turn improved their cognitive functions.
The study gives hope that medicine targeting the BACE-1 enzyme could lead to the same reversal of the disease in humans.
“To our knowledge, this is the first observation of such a dramatic reversal of amyloid deposition in any study of Alzheimer’s disease mouse models,” senior researcher Riqiang Yan said in a press release.
Amyloid plaques, which are linked to the disease, build up in the brain, disrupting the ability of neurons to communicate.
Researchers said they expected that blocking the BACE-1 enzyme would slow or stop the formation of the plaque, but told the Chicago Tribune they were surprised to see it also caused existing plaque to disintegrate.
But the authors of the study warn that the results in mice may not hold true with human subjects.
Researchers said the next step is to see how humans respond to the treatment in human trials.