A drug used to treat Alzheimer’s disease may also work for breast cancer patients, according to research first reported by BBC.

Researchers at the University of Manchester in England found that a drug often used for Alzheimer's patients can also be used to attack the Notch gene, which stimulates cancer cells and prevents breast cancer from recurring. Breast cancer usually recurs in one third of women who are treated because one cell has survived.

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A clinical trial for the Alzheimer's drug, a class of gamma secretase inhibitor, may get speeded up since it has already passed health and safety checks.

"Our work has revealed the importance of several pathways not previously known to regulate stem cell survival and self-renewal, which is tremendously exciting," said Dr Robert Clarke, a researcher at the university.