A class of drugs developed by researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Kentucky could help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Linda Van Eldik of UK’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging says the drug targets inflammation in the brain.

“So we administered the drug early in the course of the disease, just when these pro-inflammatory molecules are beginning to develop. And by doing that, we reduced the inflammation back down to normal and we prevented the nerve cell damage and the behavioral deficits,” she said.

The study was conducted on mice, and Van Eldik says a biotech company is now developing a similar drug and doing initial tests on humans. Alzheimer’s affects some five million Americans and the number of diagnosed cases continues to grow.