Pine cones may help stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks

Updated: Aug 02, 2012, 18:43 PM IST

London: A new pill, which harnesses a chemical found in pine cones, is tipped to become the first drug that may prove effective in the prevention and delay of Alzheimer’s disease.

Test results showed the once-a-day tablet given to patients when they first show symptoms can stop the degenerative brain condition in its tracks.

It also appeared to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s in patients who had been long diagnosed.

The pill stops the body from producing so-called amyloid proteins, which coat brain cells and cause the disease.

The degenerative disorder has been found to hit more than 820,000 Brits each year, the Sun reported.

Code-named NIC5-15, the drug has been rigorously analysed in animal tests, where it showed astounding results.

Trials in humans are now under way and have shown it is safe. But researchers must put it through a series of further clinical trials on a wide variety of patients suffering all stages of Alzheimer’s.

“There is a desperate need for effective treatments. This aims to slow or stop the underlying disease. It would be a huge step forward,” Dr Simon Ridley, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said.