Researchers have discovered that a harmful protein known to spread cancer cells around the body could allow the brain to repair itself, giving hope to patients with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.
Although tests are at an early stage, the discovery of the naturally occurring protein - long-thought to be one of the body's 'bad guys' - opens a new avenue of research into a cure for Alzheimer's, scientists say.
The breakthrough by Danish scientists at the University of Copenhagen found that the protein plays a crucial role in brain protection and repair, the Daily Express reported.
The protein S100A4 was already known to scientists as a key factor in metastasis, or the spread of cancer. It is not found in the brains of healthy individuals.
"This protein is not normally in the brain, only when there's trauma or degeneration," said lead researcher Oksana Dmytriyeva.