Diabetes Research Leads to Possible Alzheimer's Treatment
The research, published in Brain Research, could bring substantial improvements in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease through the use of a drug originally created to treat type 2 diabetes.
Lead researcher Professor Christian Holscher of Lancaster University in the UK said the novel treatment "holds clear promise of being developed into a new treatment for chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease."
Although the benefits of these 'triple agonist' drugs have so far only been found in mice, other studies with existing diabetes drugs such as liraglutide have shown real promise for people with Alzheimer's, so further development of this work is crucial."
This is the first time that a triple receptor drug has been used which acts in multiple ways to protect the brain from degeneration.
Professor Holscher said: "These very promising outcomes demonstrate the efficacy of these novel multiple receptor drugs that originally were developed to treat type 2 diabetes but have shown consistent neuro- protective effects in several studies."
"Clinical studies with an older version of this drug type already showed very promising results in people with Alzheimer's disease or with mood disorders"
"Here we show that a novel triple receptor drug shows promise as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's but further dose-response tests and direct comparisons with other drugs have to be conducted in order to evaluate if this new drugs is superior to previous ones."
Type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer's and has been implicated in the progression of the disease. Impaired insulin has been linked to cerebral degenerative processes in type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. Insulin desensitisation has also been observed in the Alzheimer's disease brain. The desensitisation could play a role in the development of neurodegenerative disorders as insulin is a growth factor with neuroprotective properties.