SCIENTISTS believe they have discovered a “cure” for Alzheimer’s, the devastating illness that affects nearly 600,000 people in the UK.
For years experts have been looking for a way of preventing the debilitating brain condition.
Now British and American scientists have found a way of halting its spread.
Last night the discovery was being hailed by experts as a huge development in the fight against the condition – as the number of victims is likely to double over the next decade.
One of the researchers described the breakthrough as “blindingly simple”.
Alzheimer’s is caused when amyloid – a chemical that naturally occurs in the bloodstream – passes into the brain.
Once there it forms plaques that harden. These damage communication between brain cells and eventually cause brain cell death.
Scientists have discovered a synthetic human protein that is capable of soaking up amyloid – preventing it leaking into the brain.
Researchers say trials will start within two years.
Patients will be screened for the disease by a blood test that reveals if they have high levels of amyloid.
Professor Berislav Zlokovic, of Rochester University in the US, who is behind the new study, said: “Stop over-production of amyloid and you effectively cure Alzheimer’s disease. It’s very simple.”
He said lab experiments had been so successful that he and his team were “convinced it will work in humans”.