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A recent study showed that a drug developed for diabetes could be used to treat Alzheimer's disease.

The research showed that triple receptor drugs, which were originally created to treat type 2 diabetes, could bring substantial improvements in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

They found that the drug "significantly reversed memory loss" in mice, their learning and memory formation were also much improved by the drug.

The researchers used APP/PS1 mice, which are transgenic mice that express human mutated genes that cause Alzheimer's.

They saw that the drug protected nerve cell functioning, slowed the rate of cell loss and reduced Alzheimer's-linked brain plaques.

Lead researcher Professor Christian Holscher of Lancaster University in the UK said that the treatment "holds a clear promise of being developed into a new treatment for chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease."

Although the benefits of these drugs have only been found in mice so far, other studies with existing diabetes drugs such as 'liraglutide' have shown real promise for people with Alzheimer's.

Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer's Society, said: "With no new treatments in nearly 15 years, we need to find new ways of tackling Alzheimer's."

Dr Brown added: "It's imperative that we explore whether drugs developed to treat other conditions can benefit people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. This approach to research could make it much quicker to get promising new drugs to the people who need them."

Moreover, according to Alzheimer's Society, Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia and the numbers of the affected people are expected to rise to two million people in the UK by 2051.

Professor Christian Hölscher of Lancaster University, said: "These very promising outcomes demonstrate the efficacy of these novel multiple receptor drugs that originally were developed to treat type 2 diabetes but have shown consistent neuro-protective effects in several studies."

He added: "Clinical studies with an older version of this drug type already showed very promising results in people with Alzheimer's disease or with mood disorders."

Professor Hölscher also believes that a potential treatment for Alzheimer's might be possible. But, "further dose-response tests and direct comparisons with other drugs have to be conducted in order to evaluate if this new drug is superior to previous ones," he mentioned.

The study was published in Brain Research.