13:43 11 October 2013
Following the discovery of the first chemical to prevent the death of brain tissue in a neurodegenerative disease, scientists are now hopeful that this could lead the way in discovering a medicine that could treat diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's.
In a series of tests on mice, the Medical Research Council showed that all brain cell death from the prion disease could be prevented when mice were given the compound.
Lead researcher Prof Giovanna Mallucci told the BBC news website: "They were absolutely fine, it was extraordinary.
"What's really exciting is a compound has completely prevented neuro-degeneration and that's a first.
"This isn't the compound you would use in people, but it means we can do it and it's a start."
Meanwhile, Prof Roger Morris, from King's College London, said:
"This finding, I suspect, will be judged by history as a turning point in the search for medicines to control and prevent Alzheimer's disease."
"I'm very excited; it's the first proof in any living animal that you can delay neuro-degeneration.
"The world won't change tomorrow, but this is a landmark study."
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