TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS – A study looking at the potential of repurposing licensed drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease has identified the erectile dysfunction drug sildenafil, brand name Viagra, as a candidate for future analysis.
The search for drugs that can treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease effectively has become a long and costly project.
The last major advance in our understanding of this condition arguably happened prior to the 21st century, with the identification of the role of the proteins tau and amyloid in the spread of Alzheimer’s through the brain.
Since then, numerous trials have been undertaken to test drugs based on the amyloid and tau hypotheses in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. From the early 2000s until last year, all had failed.
While the qualified approval of the anti-amyloid monoclonal antibody aducanumab provides some hope that research into Alzheimer’s is at least aiming in the right direction, the immense cost and serial failure of prior trials have led to companies and academics examining alternative routes to drug development.
“A new study has identified Viagra as a compound linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”
One of these options is based on finding already-approved compounds that may be repurposed for Alzheimer’s disease.
Viagra finding perks up Alzheimer’s drug search
A new study, armed with an innovative, computational drug development approach, has identified the erectile dysfunction drug sildenafil, known to millions of men around the world as Viagra, as a compound linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Viagra, approved in the US in 1998 and patented by Pfizer, is an artificial compound that was originally designed to treat cardiovascular disease.
The drug did little to treat angina, but its unexpected and enervating side effects made it a worldwide success.
The new research was published in Nature Aging by senior author and Case Western Reserve University professor Feixiong Cheng and colleagues.
The team built a dataset of genes, RNA molecules and proteins that have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease in previous studies … read more.