Can Viagra cure Alzheimer's disease? One study showed a 30-54% risk reduction | Insight Research
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In the past 100 years, all research on Alzheimer's disease came to nothing. It was not until 2023 that the first Aβ-targeting antibody drug, lecanemab, was fully approved by the FDA, and the market ushered in a dawn. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is considered a market second only to weight loss drugs.

In addition to various innovative explorations, researchers have still not given up trying to repurpose old drugs for Alzheimer's disease.

This month, a new study from the Cleveland Clinic pointed to sildenafil, the main ingredient in Viagra, as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease (AD). The study relied on computational modeling, insurance claims data and observations of brain cells in people with Alzheimer's disease to provide evidence.
The results were published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease earlier this month.

Through AI model, it was found that patients who use Viagra have a 30-54% lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease
Sildenafil is used not only to treat sexual dysfunction but also to treat pulmonary hypertension. "Our findings provide an important basis for turning this FDA-approved drug into a new treatment for Alzheimer's disease," said Feixiong Cheng, Ph.D., who led the study.

They used artificial intelligence (AI) to integrate data from many aspects, all showing that sildenafil has potential efficacy in this neurological disease.

Alzheimer's disease currently affects more than 6 million people in the United States, and the number of patients is expected to triple by 2050. Researchers emphasize the urgency of developing new prevention and treatment methods. Drug repurposing offers a time- and cost-saving route to new drug development.

The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, builds on early 2021 findings that sildenafil has the potential to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease. The research team analyzed a large amount of de-identified insurance claims data and found that patients who used sildenafil had a 30-54% lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease compared with patients who did not use sildenafil.

The study also found that sildenafil can reduce the level of neurotoxic tau protein in brain cells of patients with Alzheimer's disease, and can promote the expression of genes related to cell growth, improvement of brain function, and anti-inflammation to combat neurodegenerative processes.

Alzheimer's disease treatment has had twists and turns, but 2024 will be a year for blockbuster products
In the past ten years, no new treatment drug for Alzheimer's disease has been approved, and it has been in a state of silence. As Biogen and Eisai's Aβ antibody drug lecanemab received full approval from the FDA and complete coverage by Medicare (and was launched in China in January 2024), the market's longing for Alzheimer's disease treatment drugs has been rekindled.

The symptoms and course of Alzheimer's disease are now very clear, but there are still too many issues that have not yet been determined regarding its root cause and pathogenesis. Mainstream research believes that there are the following reasons:

Aβ theory: Aβ deposition to form amyloid plaques is one of the main pathological features of AD. Aβ is generated by the degradation of amyloid precursor protein (APP) by secretase. In patients with Alzheimer's disease, Aβ will gradually combine together to form larger insoluble materials, and eventually form protein plaques.

Abnormal phosphorylation of Tau protein theory: The occurrence of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) is another major pathological feature of patients with Alzheimer's disease. Under pathological conditions, intracellular Tau protein is excessively or abnormally phosphorylated, causing it to lose its biological activity in promoting microtubule assembly, causing microtubule depolymerization and axonal operation disorders, which in turn leads to neuronal degeneration and neuronal cell apoptosis. , causing the occurrence of Alzheimer's disease.

Cholinergic theory: Patients with Alzheimer's disease suffer severe loss of cholinergic neurons in the basal forebrain nucleus, which results in reduced activity of acetylcholine transferase (ChAT) that synthesizes acetylcholine and severe depletion of presynaptic cholinergic transmitters, thus Lead to cognitive decline.

Aβ is currently the hottest target for Alzheimer's disease. Lecanemab, currently approved by Biogen and Eisai, belongs to the first category of Aβ-targeting and is also the world's first Aβ-targeting AD drug to be fully approved by the FDA.

It is worth noting that Eli Lilly, which has become popular in weight loss drugs, will also receive approval this year for its own Alzheimer’s disease drug Donanemab, which targets Aβ. However, the FDA has not yet determined the time for the PCNS meeting of Donanemab. According to the latest information on March 8, the FDA has decided to postpone the PDUFA time of Donanemab from Q1 2024 to after Q1 2024. However, the market expects that the probability of approval is still high, and this product will become another catalyst for Lilly's performance.

There are many clinical products targeting tau protein, but there are currently no products on the market.

The cholinergic theory is a traditional therapeutic drug, and Tonghua Jinma’s amber octahydroaminoacridine tablets, which are familiar to investors in the A-share market, belong to the third category and inhibit B and D cholinesterases.

However, the weight loss drug semaglutide is also undergoing clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease. Some studies have shown that high insulin levels are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, and these abnormalities may accelerate pathological changes in the brain, such as abnormal protein deposition and nerve cell loss. Due to direct correlation with insulin secretion. For this reason, Alzheimer's disease is sometimes called type 3 diabetes.

With the launch of new treatment drugs for Alzheimer's disease, it may become another focus of attention after the weight loss drug market in 2024.

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