This Diabetes Drug Could Halt Alzheimer's Disease
There is a well-established link between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.
A type-2 diabetes medication from Novo Nordisk prevented the decline of brain glucose metabolism in a small Phase 2a Alzheimer's treatment study.
Other encouraging results are being tested in a larger, more extensive Phase 2b trial to determine if Alzheimer's progression can be halted at an early stage.
A recently published clinical study provides hope that an approved, safe, widely-used diabetes drug can be re-purposed for halting, or at least slowing, the progression Alzheimer's disease.
The treatment of Alzheimer's in this manner comes as a bit of a surprise. It seems to have been more widely discussed in the European press, but not so much in the U.S., leading many to miss the news, and it has potential implications for pharmaceutical and biotech companies working on both diabetes and Alzheimer's treatments.
Alzheimer's disease is a terribly destructive disorder that affects over 5 million Americans and 40 million people worldwide. Nearly everyone knows someAlzheimerone who has been afflicted with this disease. I'll always remember how it affected my grandmother many years ago, and how it essentially rendered her incapable of doing anything on her own, eventually leading to her passing.
There is no cure for Alzheimer's and current medications may only briefly delay its inevitable outcome. Many companies are working on new drugs to treat it but Alzheimer's is extremely difficult to address. No new medicines have been approved for its treatment in over a decade.
The use of diabetes drugs to treat Alzheimer's is motivated by studies that showed people with type-2 diabetes have double the odds of developing Alzheimer's than those without diabetes. Low levels or resistance of insulin are therefore associated with Alzheimer's disease. It is believed that the resulting glucose intolerance increases oxidative stress and causes metabolism issues in the brain. Hence, Alzheimer's disease and also the possibility that diabetes medications could be useful for its treatment.
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