In a world first, researchers will trial the use of a cardiovascular medication to treat Alzheimer's disease.
The study is based on the discovery that probucol, a drug used to manage high cholesterol, may be able to decrease the inflammation of microscopic blood vessels in the brain.
Led by Professor John Mamo from Curtin University in Western Australia, the landmark trial will proceed over the next two years.
“We’ve got a long line of research which has identified that the protein that we see in plaque, in people who have Alzheimer's disease, is also produced in other parts of the body," Mamo said
“We discovered that probucol will profoundly suppress the production of the amyloid in those organs outside of the brain."
Probucol was phased out by the US Food and Drug Administration in the late 1980s. It is currently unavailable for clinical use in most Western countries.
Dr Mamo says this trial offers a significant opportunity to reevaluate the drug’s efficacy in improving memory function and cognitive performance.
“Even if you delay the disease by five years, the quality of life delivered back to the person afflicted is enormous.”
This launch comes weeks after the F.D.A approved a controversial new treatment for Alzheimer's. Dr Mamo says the evidence to support the benefits of Aduhelm are ‘questionable’.
“It’s not in the context of preventing further accumulation of the plaque material. The damage is already there if you’ve got advanced plaque.
“Our approach is remarkably different.”
Around 300 Western Australians aged between 18-85 are expected to participate in the study. There are hopes to expand further to the east coast.
If successful, Dr Mamo says the drug could provide relief for millions of people suffering from Alzheimer's worldwide and ease the billion-dollar burden the disease places on the healthcare system.
It is estimated that almost half a million Australian’s currently live with dementia. The condition is the second leading cause of death in the country.
To find out more information about the trial visit: https://www.piastudy.com.au/.Do you have an idea for a story?
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