Two type 2 diabetes drugs, lixisenatide and liraglutide, can protect the brains of mice from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, finds a study published today in Neuropharmacology.
The hope is that this could bring about a transformation in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in the very near future, as the drugs used in the studies have already been licensed for human use and are on the market.
Responding to this, Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said:
‘It is exciting that drugs used for type 2 diabetes have been found to be promising as potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, and could tackle the underlying changes in the brain that are causing the disease. Alzheimer’s Society funded earlier work that showed the promise of the drug liraglutide, and we are now funding a clinical trial of this drug in people with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
‘Current treatments for Alzheimer’s only help with the symptoms for a short while and do not stop the disease from progressing. We believe that the concept of drug repurposing, where drugs already licensed for one condition may be beneficial for dementia, has enormous potential and could deliver new treatments faster and cheaper than producing a new drug from scratch. By speeding up the research process we hope to deliver a new dementia treatment within five to 10 years.’