A new drug which shows promise as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease has been developed by UK scientists.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports the drug, CPHPC, removes a protein thought to play a key role in Alzheimer's from the blood.
A team at the University College London found the small molecule drug caused the disappearance of a protein called SAP, thought to be involved in the disease, from the brains of five Alzheimer's patients who took it for three months. Longer and larger scale clinical studies are now being planned.
The results were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
Britain's Alzheimer's Research Trust, which helped fund the research, said the results with the drug, CPHPC, were cause for "cautious optimism," but it was too soon to know for sure if removing SAP from the brain would provide clinical benefit.
"New treatments for Alzheimer's disease are desperately needed, and it's possible that this small molecule could be a future candidate," said Trust Chief Executive Rebecca Wood.
Given the world's aging population and the lack of an effective treatment, new medicines for Alzheimer's are seen as a major untapped opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry.