Active ingredient in Viagra could cure Alzheimer’s

Active ingredient in Viagra could cure Alzheimer’s

A group of researchers from the Cleveland Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences, in the United States, believes it could have found a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. They have identified sildenafil, the active substance used to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension, as a potential drug to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s.

Sildenafil is marketed under the brand names of under the brand names Viagra and Revatio, and the team has emphasised the need to carry out clinical trials to support the conclusions of this computational analysis, in order to verify the efficacy of the drug in patients with the disease.

This Monday, December 5, the journal ‘Nature Aging‘, published the conclusions of a study in which the histories of more than seven million patients were analysed. Their results reportedly showed that sildenafil is associated with a 69 per cent reduction in the incidence of Alzheimer’s.

“This study is an example of a booming research area within precision medicine, where ‘big data’ is key to connecting the dots between existing drugs and complex diseases like Alzheimer’s”, said Jean Yuan, a researcher at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), which has funded the research.

Scientists found that the accumulation of beta-amyloid, and tau proteins, leads to the formation of abnormal clumps and plaques in the brain. These are two of the main markers of the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

So far, none of the numerous clinical trials that have been conducted in the last decade with molecules that promised to counteract these processes have been successful.

Feixiong Cheng, the main author of the published paper, commented, “Recent studies indicate that the interaction between amyloid (proteins), and tau, contributes more to Alzheimer’s than either of the two alone”.

As a result, Cheng’s team searched among more than 1,600 drugs already approved by health authorities in the United States for those that could have effects on both proteins at the same time. “Sildenafil, which has been shown to significantly improve cognition and memory in preclinical models, was presented as the best candidate”, he explained.

Their subsequent analysis determined that patients taking sildenafil had a 55 per cent lower risk of developing the disease over six years compared to those taking losartan – a candidate for Alzheimer’s treatment – and 65 per cent lower than those taking metformin.

“It is important to emphasise that we have determined the use of sildenafil reduced the probability of developing Alzheimer’s in individuals with coronary artery disease, hypertension, and type-2 diabetes, all of which are comorbidities significantly associated with the risk of the disease”, concluded Cheng, as reported by diariodesevilla.es.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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